List Price £7,500
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Beauvais factory (French, founded 1664)
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The fire screen features a body made from a Beauvais tapestry. The Beauvais factory in France was founded in 1664 by two Flemish weavers, Louis Hinart and Philippe Behagle, under the patronage of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV. Beauvais tapestries were high-quality decorative works, made for the wealthy bourgeoisie and nobility of France, as well as for export.
This Beauvais tapestry screen appropriately depicts Vulcan, the ancient Roman god of fire, metalworking and the forge. Vulcan is pictured as a bearded semi-nude man, seated on a plinth, holding a blacksmith’s hammer. The plinth is composed of scrolled forms, and is decorated with an image of an anvil and hammer. Vulcan sits underneath a trelliswork arch, topped by a scallop shell motif, and decorated with colourful flowers and exotic birds. These beautiful images have been expertly woven by hand.
The Beauvais tapestry is set within a wooden frame, which is carved with scrolls, curling acanthus leaves, and scallop shells. In its decoration, the fire screen is typical of the art of the Régence period (1715-23), which was defined by its restrained use of graceful Rococo motifs. In this way, it marked a departure from the grandeur and rectilinearity of the Louis XVI style that preceded it.
Palais Galliera auction, 2nd & 3rd June 1970, lot 96
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