Lot 177
  • 177

A Louis XV mythological literary tapestry, Paris, Gobelins manufactory, from the ‘Story of Armida’ from the series Fragments d'Opera inspired by scenes from operas by Jean-Baptiste Lully, after a design by Charles Antoine Coypel third quarter 18th century

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • wool and silk, woven tapestry technique,
  • approximately 272cm. high, 331cm. wide; 8ft. 11in., 10ft. 10in.
finely woven depicting Armida swooning at Renaud's departure, in a landscape setting with the figures in the foreground with elaborate colonnaded building in the background; signed C. Coypel lower left corner of design, now lacking borders, with later double banded selvedges


Most probably commissioned by the banker, Nicolas Beaujon, from the Gobelins manufactory in 1767
Probably Ville de Paris in 1900
Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s London, 25 March 1960, lot 91
Mayorcas Collection, Christie's, London 12 February 1999, lot 82


Overall measurements: 272cm. high along left side, and right side, 329cm. wide along the top, and 331cm. wide along the bottom; Tapestry is lined and has hessian band across the top with metal attachments, and attachments in the lower corners (with no longer have the screws they would have been attached to against the wall). It is recommended that Velcro should be attached across the top for hanging purposes in the future. There are some small areas of reweaving, for example on the far left edge, visible as slightly different colour (see light tan colour within darker rockwork in top left corner), and other areas of reweaving within the sky, visible as slightly lighter areas, and an area below the two flying cherubs in the top right corner, and near the bannister of the stairs which is a light mustard colour. There are some small repairs in other areas of the design. There is a round area of discolouration to the cerise swag across the knees of the central standing figure of the male (only noticeable on close inspection, as blends in generally). Small areas of repair within the silks, commensurate with the material and age. Overall in very good professionally restored and stable condition. Versatile size and charming subject matter. Balanced design and colour.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

This tapestry belongs to a series entitled Fragments d’Opéra, based on operas ‘Roland’ (1685) and ‘Armida’ (1686) by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), the tapestry cartoons were designed by Charles-Antoine Coypel, between 1733 and 1741. The story of Rinaldo and Armida forms part of the epic poem Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso (1544-1595), first published in 1581. The border type found on other sets in the series, was designed by Pierre-Josse Perrot, and was a golden frame pattern design. There were seven editions woven at the Gobelins manufactory, the scenes depicted were Roland’s despair at Angelica’s wedding, Armida swooning at Renaud’s departure, Armida destroying her enchanted palace, Renaud asleep and frustrating Armida’s plan to kill him. The first series was commissioned by the dukes of Deux-Pont, woven in the workshop of Michel Audran (1743 & 1745) and the second series from which the present tapestry belongs, was one of four, commissioned from the Gobelins manufactory by the banker Nicolas Beaujon in 1767, also woven at the Gobelins in the workshop of Monmerqué and Pierre-François Cozette. The others from the second series are no longer together; Roland, signed and dated, Cozette, 1765/6, was recorded at the Chevalier Galerie, Paris, and Destruction, signed and dated, Cozette, 1765/6, was sold in the Collection Seligmann, 9-12 March 1914, lot 347, and more recently at Sotheby's, Paris, 28 November 2016, lot 146, and Le Sommeil, in the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild de Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

The only complete set is the four tapestries from the first series, without borders is kept in the Residenz, Munich.

Jean Vittet, Les Gobelins au siècle des Lumières: Un âge d'or de la manufacture royale, 2014, pp.127-129. 

For comprehensive discussion of the series, see Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis and Hillie Smith, European Tapestries in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2004, pp.355-361.