A BRUSSELS BIBLICAL TAPESTRY 'THE DISCOVERY OF MOSES'
EARLY 18TH CENTURY, FRANS VAN DER BORGHT WORKSHOP BRUSSELS
Probably after designs by Jan Van Orley and Augustin Coppens, woven in silk and wool with Moses in a basket being saved by the Queen of Egypt, with attendant figures, verdure setting, townscape beyond, Brussels town mark and signed to lower margin F V D Borght
approximately 315cm high, 376cm wide
Formerly the Messel family collection at Nymans
Removed to the Drawing Room at Holmstead Manor in 1947 after the disastrous fire and thence by descent to Oliver Messel
Supplied by Oliver Messel to Frederick and Phyllis Baden Watkins for Flaxley Abbey
Whilst the figural designs are traditionally attributed to the Flemish artist Jan Van Orley- it would seem likely that the landscape setting may have been the work of Augustin Coppens. In this collaboration they were echoing the work of Nicholas Poussin and Charles Le Brun at the royal tapestry works at Gobelins from the 1680s. This particular design is known to have been woven by various members of the Borght weaving dynasty but signed examples are rare. A similar example, catalogued as being from the "workshop Van der Borcht, Brussels, 1737" hangs in the Princes' Chamber in the Maastricht Town Hall.
For a similar tapestry depicting this exact scene "MOISE SAUVE DES EAUX"- attributed to Peter and Frans Van Der Borght but unsigned and reduced in width, see Christie's Paris 'Important Mobilier Et Objets D'art, Tableaux Et Ceramiques', 7 th December 2005, lot 144 sold EUR 36,000.
Literature: N. de Reniès, 'Jean van Orley Cartonnier: La Tenture d'Achille au Musée Jacquemart- André', Gazette des beaux Arts, February 1995, p. 172
EXTRA IMAGES TAKEN IN DAYLIGHT ADDED 16 September
Lacking original border, edges trimmed and now with plain blue material border and later backing. The signature and town mark look to have been extricated from the margins of the original piece and dropped back in to the lower right hand margin. The stitching and weave are a match for the main panel but they are now held in with yellow thread and have variances of design at odds with their new location.
Overall the tapestry has colour muting and loss. The surface is slightly rumpled and creased from folding and will benefit from smoothing out before display. Some pulling to threads and sections- these may again benefit from remedial work. With the fixed later backing it is impossible to determine the extent to which there may have been repairs but from the the front there are indications of scattered small spot repairs, tightening and remedial work throughout the surface
Please see additional images for visual references to condition which form part of this condition report.
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