178
178

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN PRIVATE FAMILY

A Franco-Flemish armorial tapestry, early 16th century, and later
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178

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN PRIVATE FAMILY

A Franco-Flemish armorial tapestry, early 16th century, and later
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Style: Private Collections

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London

A Franco-Flemish armorial tapestry, early 16th century, and later
woven with a central tablet with the coat-of-arms of Robert Chabot and Antoinette d'Illiers, attached by ribbon and enclosed within a twisted flowering wreath, set against vertical bands of madder and burgundy with repeat pattern of rows of letters, A.R., within a four-sided border with various flowering shrubs against a saffron ground
approximately 269cm high, 280cm wide; 8ft. 10in., 9ft. 2in.
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Provenance

Probably supplied to Robert Chabot (d. 1518) and Antoinette d'Illiers (d. 1537) shortly after their marriage in 1503
Recorded together with an identical tapestry with Thiérard Frères, Paris, in 1935 and sold to
Auguste Lambiotte, Prémery and Biarritz on 23 April 1936 as a pair, thence by descent
Christie's, New York, 29 January 2014, lot 150 

Exhibited

Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Cinque siècles de Tapisseries d'Aubusson, November-December 1935, no. 2.
Paris, Palais national des Arts, Chefs d'oeuvre de l'Art Français, 1937, as a pair, no. 1306.
Musée d'Arras, La tapisserie d'Aubusson et de Felletin, 1963, as a pair, no. 3.

Literature

Lejard, André, French Tapestry, Les edition du chene, Paris, 1947, The Marche Factories: Aubusson and Felletin, pp.79-88, p.80., fig 89, Armorial bearings of Robert Chabot and his wife Antoinette d'Illiers, tapestry, end of XVth century. Thiérard Brothers' Collection.
Weigert, Rogert Armand, 'Les ateliers de la Marche, Aubusson et Felletin', La Tapisserie, Paris, 1942, pp.75-84.

Catalogue Note

This rare tapestry was woven as part of a suite of tapestries of identical design. One panel remaining at the château de Talcy, an early 16th century château in the Loir-et-Cher, whilst the tapestry panel paired with the current lot was sold anonymously, François de Ricqlès, Paris, 17 June 1997, lot 182.

The Chabot family were prominent in the 15th and 16th century, and established in several regions of France as comtes de Jarnac, barons de Retz, vicomtes de Tramecourt and seigneurs of regions such as Poitou, but most notably as the ducs de Rohan and princes de Léon. Robert Chabot (c. 1452-1517) was the 5th child of Renaud Chabot (c. 1410-1474), seigneur of Aspremont and of Jarnac, and his second wife Isabeau de Rochechouart (d. 1477). Notably, Renaud Chabot is recorded as having purchased the château de Jarnac from Jean d'Orléans to enable him to pay ransom for his brother Charles duc d'Orléans, who was captured at the battle of Azincourt in 1415 and kept captive until 1444. In 1503, Robert Chabot, seigneur de Clervaux and Baussay, baron d'Aspremont, married Antoinette d'Illiers, daughter of Jean, seigneur d'Illiers and Marguerite de Chourses, which is almost certainly when this suite of tapestries was commissioned. Their initials forming a distinctive part of the design of the tapestry composition. The vertically striped and alternating coloured background of this tapestry with a repeat pattern of golden yellow monograms is a rare survival of early armorial tapestry design.

A miniature painting of 1458, depicting the trial of Jean, Duke of Alençon, and shows the court proceedings set against a background of red, white and green striped tapestries with the armorial devices of Charles VII. It is considered one of the earliest representations of this simulated fabric-hung background (see Campbell, Thomas, Tapestry in the Renaissance, exhibition catalogue, New Haven, 2002, p. 21). There are some distinctive surviving tapestries with a striped background design include a suite with repeating stripes, of the same colours as the above cited miniature, which incorporate floral motifs and foreground figures in a rose garden, date from circa 1450-1460, and are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (see Cavallo, A, Medieval Tapestries in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1993, pp. 174-189, no. 8). Several armorial tapestries with striped grounds were recorded by the 18th century art historian François Roger de Gaignières (d. 1715) in his archive of drawings of tapestries in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, including that of René II, duc de Lorraine, and his wife Philippine von Geldern, which must pre-date 1507, and Jacques III d'Estouteville and his wife Jeanne, who were married in 1509. Other, slightly later examples include armorial tapestries for Henry VIII and also Antoine de Bourbon, King of Navarre.  The cyphers represent an important design feature that appears in Medieval tapestries either as the main focus or to identify the patron of the work. Several armorial tapestries in Gaignières' drawings employ this design. For detailed discussion of the use of emblematic devices, portraits and heraldry in his influential tapestry designs, see Flemish Tapestry in European and American Collections: Studies in honour of Guy Delmarcel, Belgium, 2003, Pascal-François Bertrand, Tapisseries de Flandres et autres tentures parmi les dessins d'archéologie de Roger de Gaignières, pp.23-35).

The mille-fleurs ground found in the borders of the offered lot is a design that evolved circa 1450-1460, with one of the first fully developed surviving examples being the armorial tapestry of Philip the Good of Burgundy woven in Brussels in circa 1466, now in the Historisches Museum, Bern (Rapp-Buri, A, & Stucky-Schürer,  M, Burgundische Tapisserien, Munich, 2001, pp. 116-117, no. 104). This genre of tapestry, however, remained popular until the mid-16th century. The repeating pattern of individual and randomly combined cartoon panels of floral sprays is closely related to mille-fleurs tapestries woven in Bruges (see Delmarcel, G, and Duverger, E, Bruges et la Tapisserie, 'exhibition catalogue', Bruges, 1987, pp.192-203). Similar designs were also woven in the Marche workshops in Felletin and Aubusson, and the offered tapestry was historically attributed to that region (see abovementioned exhibition catalogues).

Style: Private Collections

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London