An exceptional tapestry from the series of the "History of the king", woven in the Gobelins Royal Manufactory


The Defeat of Comte de Marsin 

Series of the History of the king , fourth set with gold in basse-lisse

Cartoon by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690) and Adam François van Der Meulen (1632-1690)

Gobelins Royal Manufactory, La Croix workshop

Wool, silk and golden threads

Woven between 1711 and 1715


Provenance : Cardinal de Bernis French embassy in Rome until 1793 ;

Prince de Rohan, private collection since 19th century


Created in 1662 by Colbert, the Gobelins Royal Manufactory is in charge of weaving the tapestries that will furnish the royal houses or will be given as diplomatic gifts. Its role is to show the power of France and to serve the politic propaganda of the king. The first cartoons by Charles Le Brun, king's first painter and director of the Manufactory, glorify the King in an allegorical manner (series of the Elements and seasons or History of Alexander).

For this series, the King is glorified through political events from the begining of his reign. Charles Le Brun is seconded by François Van der Meulen, flemish painter who took part with the king to the flemish campaign and brought back many drawings. 

The series of the History of the king has been loomed seven times between 1665 and 1741, making a total of 43 pieces. There is no private order known. This series counts 14 compositions after Le Brun, painted between 1663 and 1673 and three more compositions made by differents painters and woven only once in 1716.

The Defeat of Comte de Marsin, which is the ninth composition of the series, has been loomed six times, two in haute lisse, three in basse lisse and one as entrefenêtres in basse lisse. This last set has been destroyed during the fire of the Brunswick castle in 1830. Four tapestries belong to the Mobilier National in Paris. Our tapestry, which is one of the three in basse lisse, matches in dimensions and description to the one woven for the fourth set whith gold between 1711 and 1715.

The border is decorated with a fleurs-de-lis stick surrounded by a garland of flowers, with the King coat of arms on the top, and a title block explaining the scene on the back. 

The Château de Versailles owns an identical tapestry, from the third set, with the same border than this one.


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