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Tapestry - Arria and Paetus

Arria and Paetus

  • Object:

    Tapestry

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (woven)

  • Date:

    ca. 1801-1812 (woven)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gobelins (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tapestry woven in wool and silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Prince Napoleon

  • Museum number:

    6733-1857

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In Republican France in the early 19th century this subject was chosen for weaving at the Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory because of its high moral message. Paetus, a Roman imprisoned for leading an unsuccessful rebellion against the Emperor Claudius, was shown how to die with honour by his wife, Arria, who stabbed herself.

The subject was taken from a painting of 1785 by François-André Vincent (1746-1816). It was woven at the Gobelins in Paris some time between 1801 and 1809, with the border added in 1811-1812. Two tapestries were made of the subject. One was given by the French Emperor Napoleon I to his brother, Jerome, King of Westphalia, whose son gave the tapestry to the South Kensington Museum, as the Victoria & Albert Museum was then called.

Physical description

Tapestry in wool and silk, depicting Arria and Paetus

Place of Origin

Paris (woven)

Date

ca. 1801-1812 (woven)

Artist/maker

Gobelins (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Tapestry woven in wool and silk

Dimensions

Width: 3282 mm Top Edge, Width: 3287 mm, Weight: 34.5 kg, Length: 3709 mm Proper Right, Length: 3753 mm Proper left

Object history note

Napoleon I gave this tapestry to his brother, Jerome, King of Westphalia, whose son gave the tapestry to the South Kensington Museum, as the Victoria & Albert Museum was called in 1857.

Historical context note

In Republican France this subject was chosen for weaving at the Gobelins because of its high moral character: Paetus, imprisoned for leading an unsuccessful rebellion against the Emperor Claudius, was shown how to die with honour by his wife, Arria, who stabbed herself.Two tapestries were woven of the subject.

Descriptive line

Tapestry showing Arria and Paetus, after a painting of 1785 by F.-A. Vincent; woven at the Gobelins in Paris, ca. 1801-1812.

Labels and date

'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900'

In Republican France this subject was chosen for weaving at the Gobelins because of its high moral character: Paetus, imprisoned for leading an unsuccessful rebellion against the Emperor Claudius, was shown how to die with honour by his wife, Arria, who stabbed herself. Two tapestries were made of this subject. One was given by Napoleon I to his brother, Jerome, King of Westphalia, whose son gave the tapestry to the South Kensington Museum, as the Victoria & Albert Museum was then called. [1987-2006]

Production Note

After a painting of 1785 by François-André Vincent (1746-1816); woven at the Gobelins in Paris 1801-1805 or 1805-1809 (border added 1811-1812), under workshop manager Michel Henri Cozette.

Materials

Wool and silk

Techniques

Woven

Categories

Myths & Legends; Tapestry; Textiles

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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