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Rustic Sports

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (made)

  • Date:

    1500-1515 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tapestry woven in wool and silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Tapestries, Room 94

This tapestry depicts different forms of hunting: with greyhounds, with a falcon and with a crossbow. It also includes a sly pun on the idea of the hunt, showing men pursuing women with sexual intent. The tapestry evokes the pastoral idyll with its abundantly floral background, distant windmill and scenes of peasants courting. These peasants, however, are very well-dressed, and it seems likely that they are really nobles playing at rural life.

Physical description

From Wingfield Digby catalogue 'Peasants are washing their feet and disporting beside a stream. A nobleman stands on the right, holding a couple of greyhounds on leash with a horn hanging at his belt. Another (both carry swords) with hawk on fist, talks to a lady on a bridge in the middle ground; a lure can be seen in his pouch. On the left a man shoots at a duck in the river with a crossbow, a retriever by his side; on the right two woodsmen or hunters emerge from the forest with a pair of hounds. A mill, a house and peasants in the wooded background.'

Place of Origin

Flanders (made)


1500-1515 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Tapestry woven in wool and silk


Height: 341 cm, Width: 343 cm

Object history note

Acquired from the Soulages Collection.

Descriptive line

1500-1515, Southern Netherlands; Pastoral

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wingfield Digby, George 'Victoria & Albert Museum. The Tapestry Collection: Medieval and Renaissance' (London: HMSO, 1980)

Labels and date

Hunters with cross-bows, dogs and a hawk mingle with shepherds and shepherdesses in a tapestry hanging intended for more intimate surroundings than the enormous Devonshire Hunts. Rich materials in the gowns of the shepherdesses suggest that these are courtiers amusing themselves or figures of romantic pastoral stories, rather than peasants at their work.
FLEMISH; early 16th century
Museum number 5668A-1859 [before 2003]


Wool yarn; Silk thread


Hand weaving

Subjects depicted

Hawk; Hunters; Dogs (animals); Peasants; Streams; Cross-bows; Windmill; Sheep; Hunting horn; Flowers (plants); Noblewomen; Greyhound; Noblemen




Textiles and Fashion Collection

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