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July

  • Object:

    Tapestry

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (woven)

  • Date:

    1670-1700 (woven)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Le Brun, Charles, born 1619 - died 1690 (designer)
    de la Croix, Jean (manufacturer)
    Gobelins (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tapestry woven in wool and silk

  • Museum number:

    T.371-1977

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 5, The Friends of the V&A Gallery, case SC3, shelf WEST SIDE

This tapestry is from a series representing twelve of Louis XIV’s royal residences during different months of the year, with the King shown hunting with his retinue in the grounds of his chateaux. The composition puts these outdoor scenes into the background, with the foreground dominated by a display of abundance, both the bounty of nature and the luxury of court life. The textiles and other precious objects laid on the balustrade are known to have been drawn from Louis’ treasury, and the animals and birds from his menagerie. The series was conceived and designed by Le Brun, but many artists collaborated by providing the details in which they specialised, such as floral arrangements.

The first set of Les Maisons Royales was made in the workshop of Lefebvre and Jans in 1668. Between then and 1713 the Crown commissioned seven complete sets of this popular subject, woven with gold thread. A number of other less lavish sets were commissioned by private individuals. The set of tapestries to which this example belongs was probably such a private order late in the 17th century, from the workshop of Jean de la Croix. Its border is without royal emblems, and it is smaller in dimensions than the royal sets.

Physical description

Tapestry of woven wool and silk. A well-dressed woman stands behind a balustrade supporting a basket of fruit Alongside are two blue parrots, a silk cover with elaborate borders, a tasselled cushion embroidered with metal thread and a small dog investigating the contents of an urn filled with flowers. In the front of the balustrade are four large birds, at the left, and an animal, at the right. The scene behind is of the King Louis XIV and his courtiers hunting, with the Château de Vincennes in the background. To either side of this scene, a marble column supports an architrave, from which hangs swags of flowers and the Zodiac sign for July, Leo.

There is a narrow border of acanthus leaves in gold spiralling with flowers in natural colours, with an outer edge of guilloche. At centre top is a blue cabochon in a winged cartouche; there is also a cartouche at centre bottom, partly obscured by blue ribbons, with the inscription CHASTE[AU, obscured] DE VINCENNE.

Place of Origin

Paris (woven)

Date

1670-1700 (woven)

Artist/maker

Le Brun, Charles, born 1619 - died 1690 (designer)
de la Croix, Jean (manufacturer)
Gobelins (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Tapestry woven in wool and silk

Marks and inscriptions

'CHATEAU DE VINCENNES'
Woven in cartouche at centre bottom

'L.D.L.'
Later reconstruction of the original workshop mark

Dimensions

Height: 334.5 cm maximum, Width: 339 cm, Weight: 20 kg approximately

Object history note

Sold from Collection Henry Say, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 30 November 1908, lot 32; Château de Fleury-en-Bière; Purchased from Sothebys, London, 1 July 1977, lot 6.
Lot 7, September/Chambord, in a matching border, was purchased by the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo.
A third tapestry in this border, December/Monceaux, was acquired by the J Paul Getty Museum in 1985. It is signed I.D.L.CROX . See Bremer-David 1997.

Historical context note

The set of tapestries to which this belongs, in a border without royal emblems, and reduced in dimensions, was probably a private order late in the 17th century; it is not listed in Fenaille.
The first set of Maisons Royales was made in the workshop of Lefebvre and Jans in 1668. The series was conceived and designed by Le Brun, but many artists collaborated by providing the details in which they specialised. A memoir by Jan Jans the Younger from 1691 described the series, gave the subjects of the twelve compositions, and named the painters responsible for the large figures, carpets and drapery, flowers and fruit, animals and birds, architecture, small figures and landscapes of the cartoons. (Fenaille p.129)
Full-scale paintings of the series are in the collection of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris.

Descriptive line

Tapestry of wool and silk, designed by Charles Le Brun, manufactured by Jean de la Croix workshop at the Gobelins, Paris, 1670-1700

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

Maurice Fenaille, Etat general des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins, Paris,vol. 2, 1903, pp.128-165
Candace Adelson and Roberta Landini, the "Persian" carpet in Charles Le Brun's "July" was a 16th century Florentine Table Tapestry , in CIETA Bulletin 68, 1990, pp.53-68.
Charissa Bremer-David, French Tapestries and Textiles in the J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 1997
Baroque 1620-1800 exhibition

Materials

Wool; Silk

Techniques

Tapestry

Subjects depicted

Châteaux; Hunting

Categories

Textiles; Tapestry; Wall coverings; Royalty

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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