Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Hanging - Bacchus

Bacchus

  • Object:

    Hanging

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)
    Saint-Joseph Convent (Paris) (embroidery workshop of, made)

  • Date:

    c.1683

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidery. Wool and silk on a linen canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the support of V&A Members

  • Museum number:

    T.37-2018

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Louis XIV of France’s former mistress Madame de Montespan (1641 -1707) commissioned for her personal use a set of embroidered wall hangings depicting the Elements and Seasons, with herself, Louis, and six of their children taking the parts of the personified elements. The embroideries were worked at the Parisian convent of Saint Joseph de la Providence in the 1680s. Four of the set, with silver gilt and silver grounds, are now in the Metropolitan Museum, but a small number of the other versions are known with slight variations, including this piece and the V&A’s, Jupiter or Air (T.106-1978), which is from the same set.

This hanging is an allegory of Autumn, probably depicting Louis’s second child, Louis César de Bourbon (1672 -83), comte de Vexin, as the young Bacchus or Autumn.

Physical description

This hanging is an allegory of Autumn, probably depicting Louis’s second child, Louis César de Bourbon (1672 -83), comte de Vexin, as the young Bacchus or Autumn. He stands beneath the arbour, surrounded by a garland of white and black grapes, crowned with a garland of vine leaves and grapes, with a thyrse in his right hand and a bunch of grapes in his left hand. He is dressed in a leopard skin and Roman-style sandals, and behind him stands a leopard. The three signs of the zodiac associated with Autumn appear on the hanging: above the figure, Scorpio; on the lower left, Libra; and on the lower right, Sagittarius. Arabesques, grotesque masks, little birds, and abundant fruit and flowers complete the ornamentation.

Place of Origin

France (made)
Saint-Joseph Convent (Paris) (embroidery workshop of, made)

Date

c.1683

Materials and Techniques

Embroidery. Wool and silk on a linen canvas

Dimensions

Height: 440 cm, Width: 274 cm, Width: 2696 mm Top edge, Width: 2705 mm Bottom edge, Length: 4290 mm Proper right, Length: 4281 mm Proper left, Weight: 28 kg Weighed on roller

Object history note

Louis XIV of France’s former mistress Madame de Montespan (1641 -1707) commissioned for her personal use a set of embroidered wall hangings depicting the Elements and Seasons, with herself, Louis, and six of their children taking the parts of the personified elements. The embroideries were worked at the Parisian convent of Saint Joseph de la Providence in the 1680s. Four of the set, with silver gilt and silver grounds, are now in the Metropolitan Museum, but a small number of the other versions are known with slight variations, including this piece and the V&A’s, Jupiter or Air (T.106-1978), which is from the same set. Both of the latter have a pink wool rather than gold thread background, which was evidently added in the late 19th century when the taste for 17th and 18th-century French decorative arts was at its height. The two hangings probably come from the collection of Louis Phillippe and were described at the time of the sale at Monceaux in 1852 as ‘avec des fond non brodés’ (‘with ground not embroidered’).

Descriptive line

hanging, Bacchus or Autumn, embroidered, wool and silk on linen canvas, from series of the Elements and Seasons, France, about 1683

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

Standen, Edith. European Post Medieval Tapestries and related hangings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. NY, 1985, tome II, no. 117, pp. 665-76.

Campbell, Thomas Patrick and Elizabeth A. H. Cleland, eds. Tapestry in the Baroque: New Aspects of Production and Patronage. The Met: New York, 2007, pp. 323 -325.

Véron-Denis, Danièle and Jean Vittet. ‘Versailles, les broderies de Saint Joseph et Jean Lemoyne de Lorrain’. Versailles, 2008, pp. 55 -85.

Materials

Wool; Silk; Linen

Techniques

Embroidery

Subjects depicted

Autumn

Categories

Court; Royalty; Textiles; Embroidery

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.