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Details & Cataloguing

Howard Hodgkin, Portrait of the Artist

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France, Aubusson
EXOTIC CHINOISERIE LANDSCAPE TAPESTRY
woven with a bow and quiver suspended from within the branches of a fruiting tree draped with a red textile, with flowering and fruiting plants in the foreground and distant Chinese buildings, a tall pagoda and a peacock, within a four-sided border with golden acanthus leaves around a central rod, with fleurs-de-lys clasp corners motifs; faded colours overall, oxidised browns

 


wool, woven
approximately 282 by 505cm., 9ft 3in by 16ft 7in.
Louis XV, mid 18th century
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Catalogue Note

This is not the usual verdant landscape tapestry, but an exotic landscape revealing the interest in and influence of the 'exotic' and travelling. This particular composition was one of the most popular of this extensive series of 'exotic verdure' tapestries woven throughout the reign of Louis XV in which the various details were often used in varying combinations in different tapestries with various borders. The manufactory of Felletin was adjacent to Aubusson in the district of La Marche in central France. The two factories used the same models and their products were almost indistinguishable, the only difference being that the tapestries of Felletin originally carried a brown selvedge while those of Aubusson were blue. Various workshops were involved with this series and signed examples are known. 

Comparable Literature:

Anna G.Bennett, Five Centuries of Tapestry, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1992, pp.274-276, no.86 'Landscape with Pagoda' for a partial weaving of this popular composition. See fig. 88, for an inspirational engraving of the Chinese Pagoda by Fischer von Erlach, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1938, 38.13.1), from his publication Entwurff einer historischen Architektur (A Plan of Civil and Historical Architecture), 1721. Interestingly Erlach in turn had been influenced by Johan Nieuhoff's travel book of 1665. 

In addition see fig.89 for a very similar example to the present tapestry, attributed to the workshop of Dorliac, of wider propotions and within a scrolling acanthus and floral border (The Mobilier National, Paris). Dominique Chevalier, Les Tapisseries d' Aubusson et de Felletin, Paris, 1988, p.128, illustrates other examples from the series, circa 1725 due to the coat of arms incorporated in the top floral border, and another slightly narrower version (285 by 435cm) of the present tapestry composition with the name of the Aubusson workshop, AVBVSSON.ROVGERON, woven in the lower selvedge. Chevalier, p.180, notes the family of Choupineaux as "un des plus faciles fabricants de  Feletin" and also records p.193, Christophe Choupineaux as one of the weavers who received an order for a set of tapestries for the Salle d' Assemblée des Etats de Dijon.

For comparable tapestries at auction see Sotheby’s, London, 10 June 1999, lot 12 (approx. 270 by 440cm), circa 1750, with gold and red scrolling acanthus leaf and central stem border, with the workshop and the mark of the weaver Choupineaux, M*R*DE FELETIN CHOPINOUX in the lower selvedge (270 by 440cm). For another mid 18th century version of this composition in a distinctive François Grellet frame pattern border with narrow inner scalloped edging, and selvedge signed F.G.M.R.DAVBVSSON (287 by 549cm), see Sotheby’s, London, 21 June 1974, lot 14, From the Georges Petit Collection, Paris, 17 May 1926. H. Göbel, Die Wandteppiche, 1928, Part II, Vol.i, p.541 records that twelve signed tapestries by Grellet of landscapes with animals and oriental buildings, and illustrates a weaving of this composition (not signed) see Göbel, 1928, Part II, Vol.ii, no.277, within a floral border.

Exotisme et Tapisserie au XVIle Siècle, Exhibition Catalogue, Aubusson, 1983, no.25, pp.34 & 45, was a very similar weaving of this composition (Ville de Mans), within a distinctive frame pattern border in the manner of Grellet. See lot 439 in this sale for a tapestry fragment with a lower section of border of this type.  

See lot 155 in this sale for a tapestry fragment with a lower section of border of this type. 

Howard Hodgkin, Portrait of the Artist

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London