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18th century Gobelins tapestry - ‘January’

Circa 1732-37
357 x 324 cm 11’8” x 10’7”


18th century Gobelins tapestry – ‘January’, from the Months of Lucas.  From a private collection this is a rare and exquisite tapestry full of incredible silk detailing and gold and silver thread.

You can view another January Tapestry woven 1732-37 at the Met Museum, please click here

The original series of Les Mois Lucas or the Lucas Months, were woven in Brussels in 1535 and were owned by Louis XIV. They were subsequently burned for their gold and silver thread in 1797. The first Gobelins set of the series was made for Colbert and appears in the royal inventory of 1685. The Months were woven at the Gobelins with a variety of border types. Sets were produced for Baron Spaar, Swedish Ambassador to France in 1717, for Princess Conti, and for the King of Poland, among others.

Please request an appointment at our showroom or in-situ to view this remarkable 18th Century Gobelins tapestry up close.

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The Twelve Months Hanging, better known as the Lucas Month, is organized around the months of the year. Each month is symbolized by the sign of the zodiac placed in a medallion in the upper border and illustrated by genre scenes, in relation to the rank of the characters and the season represented. This hanging takes its name from the supposed creator of the original hanging, executed in Brussels in the 16th century, the Flemish Lucas of Leyden; recent research, however, tends to attribute this paternity to an artist around Barend Van Orley, himself creator of the models of Maximilian’s Hunts. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Goblins produced no less than twelve hangings after the original Months, testifying to the success of these Flemish scenes with the aristocracy.

The National Museum of the Château de Pau keeps pieces belonging to three of these hangings: the second (1688-1689) intended for Louis XIV, the sixth (1730s) for the Princess of Conti and the seventh (1731-1735) for the king. from Poland, Stanislas Leczinski, whose arms and number were woven into the border. Only the rooms of the first two are visible in the tour: they adorn the walls of the dining room at the Hundred Covers, where they are associated with the Hunts of Maximilian, the large reception room and the emperor’s bedroom. Like the other tapestries in the collections, these pieces were specially chosen for the newly restored Château de Pau in the 19th century. The scenes and the period represented (the 16th century) certainly explain the reason for such a choice: these princely entertainments (hunting, country concert, archery, card games) and their popular counterparts (work in the fields, fishing, gardening or sheep shearing) referring to an evocation of an idealized daily life in the time of the kings of Navarre.

In the month of February (sign of Pisces) corresponds an interior scene: warm thanks to the fire which blazes happily in a richly decorated fireplace, dressed in heavy lined coats, aristocrats indulge in the guilty pleasures of gambling, a game of cards, a game of backgammon, under the uncompromising eye of their servants, busier, it seems, to observe and comment on the scene than to get busy with their own tasks …

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