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Tapestry - The Camel
  • The Camel
    Monnoyer, Jean-Baptiste, born 1636 - died 1699
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The Camel

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    France (woven)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700-1720 (woven)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Monnoyer, Jean-Baptiste, born 1636 - died 1699 (designer)
    Beauvais Tapestry Factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tapestry woven in wool and silks on woollen warps

  • Credit Line:

    E. E. Cook Bequest, presented by Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 5, The Friends of the V&A Gallery, case SC1, shelf WEST SIDE

The series to which this tapestry belongs, deriving from compositions by Jean Bérain I (1637-1711), came to be known as the Grotesques on a Yellow Ground, or the Bérain Grotesques. It initially consisted of a series of six tapestries, and was first woven in 1688, with the cartoons produced by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, an artist principally known for his still-life and flower paintings.

The Grotesques series was enormously successful, woven many times, with many variations, through to 1732 (there are more than 150 surviving pieces of varying quality, corresponding to the descriptions of 'fine' and 'ordinary' grotesques that appear in the archives of the factory). Based on the classical grotteschi of the 16th century artist Raphael, as adapted by Berain, they show fragile architectural constructions resting on slender columns of lapis-lazuli, and filled with playful figures, and exotic animals and birds. The compositions included animal tamers, an elephant, a camel, musicians, dancers, and acrobats, together with offerings to the Gods Pan and Bacchus. These elements could be brought together in different combinations, with a variety of different borders, to create a composition customised for ornament, size and price.

Physical description

Tapestry woven in wool and silk on woollen warps. From left to right in three tableaux are a tightrope walker with musicians, a peacock with a masked performer in front of a large floral display, and a camel with tamer and lion and leopard nearby. Exotic birds and winged putti in the upper part of the tapestry. The colours are warm on a dark yellow ground. The border is imitating a gilded frame with gadrooning. 17 warps to the inch.

Place of Origin

France (woven)


ca. 1700-1720 (woven)


Monnoyer, Jean-Baptiste, born 1636 - died 1699 (designer)
Beauvais Tapestry Factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Tapestry woven in wool and silks on woollen warps


Height: 202 cm maximum, Width: 361 cm maximum

Object history note

This tapestry was part of the E E Cook Bequest to the Museum. In his will Mr Cook expressed an "earnest wish and desire" that the items bequeathed should not be "sent out of England for exhibition or any other purpose".

Descriptive line

Tapestry 'The Camel' and 'The Acrobats' woven in wool and silks on woollen warps, designed by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, made by the Beauvais Tapestry Factory, France, ca. 1700-1720


Wool; Silk



Subjects depicted



Tapestry; Textiles; Wall coverings; Interiors


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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