View full screen - View 1 of Lot 82. A FLEMISH OLD TESTAMENT BIBLICAL NARRATIVE TAPESTRY, BRUSSELS SECOND HALF 16TH CENTURY.
82

A FLEMISH OLD TESTAMENT BIBLICAL NARRATIVE TAPESTRY, BRUSSELS SECOND HALF 16TH CENTURY

UK: Greenford Park Warehouse

Estimate:

20,000

to
- 30,000 GBP

A FLEMISH OLD TESTAMENT BIBLICAL NARRATIVE TAPESTRY, BRUSSELS SECOND HALF 16TH CENTURY

A FLEMISH OLD TESTAMENT BIBLICAL NARRATIVE TAPESTRY, BRUSSELS SECOND HALF 16TH CENTURY

Estimate:

20,000

to
- 30,000 GBP

Lot sold:

25,200

GBP

A FLEMISH OLD TESTAMENT BIBLICAL NARRATIVE TAPESTRY, BRUSSELS SECOND HALF 16TH CENTURY


depicting 'Solomon building the Temple', with a figure carrying dividers in his apron, greeting a bearded figure, possibly Solomon, with a crowned turban carrying a sceptre which is an emblem of authority and an insignia of Royalty, instructing the building of the temple, with further figures surrounding them on the steps of a classical portico and marbled step, and foreground plants and strawberries, with additional figures in the background in the process of carrying, carving and measuring stone work for building purposes and fighting figures in distance, woven within an elaborate four-sided border with strapwork binding the narrow inner and outer borders, together and encasing various elements including vases of flowers and foliage and crouching figures in each top corner interspersed with allegorical figures, the lower corners with chariots containing pairs of figures and each side border with a standing allegorical figures, the upper and lower border with a central medallion flanked by seated profile figures


approximately 341cm. high, 398cm. wide; 11ft.2in., 13ft.



Overall measurements: 397cm across the top, 398cm across the bottom, 340cm along the left side, 341cm along the right side.


Lined with old brown glazed linen. It has been opened up along the lower edge and corners. Old metal hoops sewn on across the top edge. It is recommended that the lining should have some attention to protect the lower edge of the tapestry, and that Velcro is attached across the top edge for hanging purposes in the future. Original inner and outer narrow borders and partially original sections of outer selvedge, with some old repair and some new selvedge. There are some old repairs generally, commensurate with age, and minor rewoven patches in areas, for example see the far left border above bird's head. Repair to some of silks. Dirt in surface spots in areas, for example in area left and right of the central cartouche in the lower border, and in areas across the lower half of the tapestry in the main. Figures flesh colour is faded, especially to faces. There are some later details in the features of the faces, to give definition, and the outer brown highlighting in areas, has been replaced where the original dark brown has oxidised. Even faded colour overall, commensurate with age. Balanced composition with good colour. Beautiful details to the weaving, especially to the costumes. Elaborate border with striking allegorical figures in the side borders. It would benefit from a professional clean.

Evocative classical tapestry, of the type owned by Kindgs and Queens of Europe from the 16th century onwards.


"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.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Sotheby's, Easton Neston, Northamptonshire, 17th-19th May 2005, lot 267 

This Brussels tapestry with the large figures in a confined space with receding figures beyond is an imposing design which is associated with Brussels in the 16th century. The depicting of Classical and Biblical heroes and heroines were particularly popular commissions for narrative series of tapestries, serving as role models in their ruling and military actions to those that looked upon them. Solomon for example, the third King of Israel, like King David, was considered a heroic figure. Solomon's court was magnificent and his lifestyle luxurious. His famous judgement meant that he in turn became a symbol of Justice. In addition this tapestry' border has typical design elements associated with the period, using strapwork worked around alternating figures and flowering and fruiting vases.


Joining the inner border to the outer borders, are encasing figures acting as strong bonds between the borders and the main tapestry. The classical motifs of medallions, and allegorical figures with attributes and in chariots allude to the literary and Biblical sources used for the subject of the main tapestries. In this tapestry the large figures in the centre of the side borders, possibly representing Sculpture and Architecture, are particularly striking. The inclusion of a background of strapwork belongs to the traditional ornament of the Antwerp school, as it was conceived by Cornelis Floris (Compendium published in Antwerp in 1556 Veelderleij Veranderinghe van Grotissen ende Compertimenten with multiple variations of grotesques and compartments) and others from 1548 onwards. It became a recurring and distinctive motif in Flemish tapestries. Examples of Classical 16th century Brussels tapestries depicting The Story of Cyrus, exist with borders with similar gold border medallions and motifs, and Delmarcel, Flemish Tapestries, London, 1999, The golden days of the Flemish Renaissance in Brussels Tapestries, pp.119-163, figs.5.1-5.8, records a set of eight tapestries depicting the Story of Rome, with similar design elements and inclusion of golden medallions and term figures in the borders.