Lot 1042
  • 1042

A Flemish literary pastoral tapestry fragment, Bruges, from 'Le Cortège Nuptial', The Story of Gombaut et Macée, third quarter 17th century

6,000 - 10,000 GBP
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  • wool tapestry weave
from a larger tapestry depicting a wedding procession, and with narrative inscription from the groom woven into the design: Gombavlt vovs ferez bom mesnage vovs et macee elle est bien sage et avrez des enffans assez (Gombault you will get along / have a good marriage / and Macee is wise and you will have enough children); with sections from the original borders and some later sections

Catalogue Note

The series of these pastoral narrative tapestries from the popular Story of Gombaut and Macée, depicts the events through the life of a shepherd and shepherdess, and are a social comment on the stages of life. Some of the designs were inspired by the engravings of Jean Leclerc. They were woven in Bruges, Brussels and France, and French archives record tapestries from this series in 1532 (with two surviving in the Montal château, France). Later series were inspired by a set of woodcuts printed in Paris by Jean Leclerc in 1596, which were on the looms in Paris workshops of Comans and van der Plancken before 1627.  The Bruges weavings are documented by an early set in 1613. Incorporating text within the scenes is inspired by the tapestries of the Medieval period, and despite the use of French text they are Bruges weavings, and panels with the Bruges town marks exist. In this series it is the names of Gombaut and Macée that appear the most, hence the name. It was particularly popular in Flanders and on the French market until the end of the 17thcentury.

The series includes panels depicting La Chasse aux papillon (Chasing butterflies), Femme mangeant sa soupe (Woman eating soup), Le Jue de tiquet (The Ball game), La Danse (The Dance), Le repas Champêtre (Rural picnic), Les Fiançailles (The Engagement), La Vieillesse (Old Age) and Le Cortège Nuptial (Wedding Procession). G. Delmarcel & E. Duverger, Bruges et la Tapisserie, Bruges, 1987, No.19-26, pp.249-285, comprehensively discusses Bruges woven pieces of this series, located in the Bruges, Municipal Museums collection and the Musée d’Art, Saint-Lo, dating from the early 17th century, some bearing the Bruges town mark, woven within differing border types. The tapestries have distinctive four-sided borders and inner borders, some with the border style present on the offered fragment. The foreground of the main fields all have distinctive depictions of foliage and various animals, inclusion of narrative Old French scrolls within the composition. The tapestry of Le Cortège Nuptial, (ibid. pp.276-277: Musées Communaux, Bruges: Inv.0.13.XVII) depicts a large group of people including musicians, and the present tapestry is the lower quarter of the original composition. The wedding party extends across the centre of the original composition and only the legs of the figures and banqueting table are present in the offered piece, and a landscape background setting incorporating village buildings and three narrative panels is lacking here. The six inscription panels in the original composition allude to the wealth of the children that await the bridal couple.