July thumbnail 1
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 5, The Friends of the V&A Gallery

July

Tapestry
1670-1700 (woven)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional Titles
  • Vincennes (assigned by artist)
  • The Months (series title)
  • The Royal Residences (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Tapestry woven in wool and silk
Brief Description
Tapestry of wool and silk, designed by Charles Le Brun, manufactured by Jean de la Croix workshop at the Gobelins, Paris, 1670-1700
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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 334.5cm (maximum)
  • Width: 339cm
  • Weight: 20kg (approximately)
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'CHATEAU DE VINCENNES' (Woven in cartouche at centre bottom)
  • 'L.D.L.' (Later reconstruction of the original workshop mark)
Object history
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
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.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
T.371-1977

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record createdJanuary 30, 2007
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