No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
The estimate for this lot should read £30,000-50,000 and not as stated in the catalogue.
The following twelve tapestries form one of the most complete sets of the Story of Emperor Octavian Augustus ever to have been offered for sale. The series depicts various episodes in the life of Emperor Augustus (63 BC - 14 AD). He was born into an equestrian family but his father was the first senator of the family. His father died when he was only four, but it was his mother, who had the important family connections; she was the daughter of Julia, sister of Julius Caesar. He was married to Livia Drusilla and he served under Julius Caesar in the Spanish expedition in 46 BC. He was only 18 when he heard of Julius Caesar's assassination and that Caesar had adopted him. Upon Octavian's return to Rome Marc Antony and Aemilius Lepidus had assumed power. When Anthony left to take command in Northern Italy, the senate sent Octavian to battle him and wrest control from him. In 43 BC he defeated Marc Antony in Mutina and marched back to Rome and forced the senate to make him consul. Shortly thereafter he aligned himself with Antony and Lepidus to form the first Triumvirate. The Empire was divided with Antony ruling over the East of the Empire, Lepidus, a minor partner in the Triumvirate, Africa, and Octavian the West. After Lepidus was further shunted to the side, Antony lost grace in the eyes of the Romans when he turned to Cleopatra. Rome declared war on him and it was Agrippa who defeated Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 BC, after which they committed suicide. Egypt's treasures fell to Octavian and Egypt became a Roman province. He consolidated his powers and received the name Augustus. In 23 BC he fell gravely ill which led him to strengthen the Senate again and to give up his consulship in return for tribunician powers for life. In 19 BC he received consular powers for life and in 2 BC he was elevated to Pater Patriae, father of the nation.
This series comprises eight subjects, and was usually woven complete or in sets of six. The subjects are based on Gaius Svetonius Tranquillus' De Vita Caesarum of circa 113 AD. The series appears to be first mentioned in the archive of the Antwerp merchant family Forchoudt in 1659, and was with certainty woven by 1669.
The 1659 document attributes the series to Justus van Egmont (1601 - 1674) (N. Forti Grazzini, Il Patrimonio artistico del Quirinale, Rome, 1994, vol. II, cats. 126 - 127, p. 341). He originally trained under Rubens and, after a short time in Paris where he worked with Simon Vouet, returned to Brussels in 1649 and to Antwerp in 1653. One of his first series that can be documented as his is the Story of Marc Antony and Cleopatra of 1651, then the Story of Emperor Octavian Augustus in 1659, the Story of Julius Caesar and finally the Story of Emperor Marcus Arelius and Queen Zenobia in 1665.
Jan Frans Cornelissen (d. 1678), a brother-in-law of the weaver Michiel Wauters, is sparsly documented, but can be identified twice as the weaver of this series in Forchoudt documents of 1669 and 1670. He was apparently the owner of the cartoons, which, after his death, passed to Michiel Wauter who died in 1679. The workshop was taken over by his daughter, Anna Maria Wauters, who continued to weave this series as shown in letters of the Forchoudt archives that mention the transfer of such sets to its Vienna office between 1685 and 1688. A third weaver, the brother of Michiel, is finally recorded on one tapestry of the series. Forchoudt are recorded selling various series, one to the court in Sweden, several to their office in Vienna and some to England, where one set of eight is recorded in the collection of the Duke of Ormond in 1675 (W.G. Thompson, Tapestry Weaving in England, London, n.d., p. 127).
Until recently believed to be the only complete set of the series to survive is a set of eight tapestries at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (E. von Birk, 'Inventar der im Besitze des allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses befindlichen Niederländer Tapeten und Gobelins', Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, Vienna, 1884, pp. 189 - 190). Two from a set that originally comprised eleven panels are in the Swedish Royal Collection (J. Böttiger, Svenska Statens Samling af väfda Tapeter, Stockholm, 1896, vol. III, p. 44), while an apparently complete set was purchased probably by Cosimo II de'Medici of which two panels remain at the Quirinale, Rome (Forti Grazzini, op. cit, cats 126 - 127, pp. 341 - 345).
(D. Heinz, Europäische Tapisseriekunst des 17. und 18.Jahrhunderts, Vienna, 1995, N. Forti Grazzini, Il Patrimonio artistico del Quirinale, Rome, 1994, vol. II, cats. 126 - 127, pp. 341 - 345)
PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN NOBLE FAMILY