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A Flemish Wild Park Tapestry, probably Oudenaarde 16th century
woven with wild animals including a lion attacking a horse in the foreground of landscape setting, with figures, a camel and classical ruins, in the background, within a partially visible four-sided floral border (tucked under on all sides)
approximately 268 by 433cm; 8ft. 9in., 14ft. 2in.
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Catalogue Note

Wild Park Tapestries are very evocative of Flemish weaving manufacture, especially from the city of Oudenaarde, dating from the mid 16th century through to 1600. They are often wide weavings which are an extension of the landscapes beyond the walls on which they were hanging, only they often included very exotic animals within the more familiar acanthus plants and oak tree woodland glades. Amongst this genre of tapestries, there were some that had the wild and exotic animals in the foreground and small figures in the background, as depicted in the present weaving. The border types varied and often included fruiting and foliate main borders and narrow outer border, and some had additional allegorical figures in the corners, and others had elaborate architectural columned and colonnaded structures within the main composition.

For a particularly wonderful Wild Park Tapestry, circa 1560, Oudenaarde, notable for the inclusion amongst the animals of the Rhinoceros after Dürer, see Sotheby’s, London, The Vigo-Sternberg Collection of European Tapestries, 29th February 1996, lot 14. Having been woven around 1560, tapestries woven in the next four decades followed the theme of extraordinary animals and birds within more recognisable forest settings. 

For very similar Oudenaarde tapestry in concept and design, circa 1550-1570, woven with a deer and stag in the foreground and similar style of landscape with further prancing deer in the background (approx. 348cm. high, 260cm. wide), from the Collection French & Company, New York, courtesy of the Getty Research Institute Photo Study Collection, Los Angeles (French & Co Archive), and another example with a dragon attacking deer and animals in the background, circa 1550, (approx. 227cm. high, 300cm. wide), Rabel Gallery, Monte Carlo, both within wide fruiting borders, see I. De Meuter, Tapisseries d’Audenarde du XVI au XVIII Siècle, 1999, pp.131-132, and pp.133-146, for further discussion of Game and Wild park tapestries, including comparable weavings with a lion attacking a horse in one (Paris, Mobilier National, Paris), and attacking a boar in another (Banque Artesia, Brussels), both of the same date, and with animals and figures in the background (ibid. pp.137 & 141). 

For auction comparables see a Flemish large leaf wild park tapestry, probably Oudenaarde, circa 1560-1600, woven with a lion, lioness, monkey and horse within exuberant large leaf plants within a landscape setting, within a four-sided fruiting and foliate border with allegorical figures in the lower corners of the border, with a narrow outer double scrolling border, with blue outer selvedge (approx. 340cm high, 520cm wide), Sotheby's, London, 9th June 2015, lot 123. Another comparable is a Flemish Wild Park Tapestry, with the Battle of Lapythites and Centaurs (Ovid’s Metamorphoses), Oudenaarde, circa 1600, (approx. 310cm. high, 520cm. wide), Sotheby’s, London, 1 November 2005, lot 64, which is similar in format and design, with forest in the foreground and distant hills in the background, and also similar in concept using trees to break the frame.

For other comparable auction pieces, within different border types, see two similar tapestries which were sold at Sotheby's, London, 20th May 1994, lot 12 and 17. Lot 12, was a very distinctive and important Wild Park Tapestry, Oudenaarde, circa 1550, by Jacob Benne, with the Oudenaarde town mark and weaver’s mark, (approximately 295cm. high, 505cm. wide) and is similar in size, concept and design, although it included more architectural motifs and figures within the main design, and was in a border with more allegorical figures. Lot 17, A Game Park, Oudenaarde, circa 1600, has the characteristic foreground of wild animals, which in this weaving is centred by a lion attacking a stag, and the background reveals a river and boat, and is flanked by equestrian figures and hounds to one side and further equestrian figures, and two lions, one of which is attacking a centaur with sword and shield, the border type however being of a different style with compartments and more figures. 

For an interesting set of eight Wild Park tapestries, in Château Serrant, depicting combat scenes of wild animals, including an elephant and a dragon and lion and a horse, probably Brussels weavings, second half sixteenth century, see Edwige Six, Les Routes de la Tapisserie en Val de Loire, Paris, 1996, pp.12-20. See Delmarcel, Guy, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, pp.188-194, for discussion of Oudenaarde tapestries, including Wild Park weavings.

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