Tapestry: Chancellerie

Object Details

Title:

Tapestry: Chancellerie

Artist/Maker(s):

Executed by Etienne-Claude Le Blond (French, about 1700 - 1751, active at Gobelins, 1727 - 1751)

After designs by Guy-Louis Vernansal (French, 1648 - 1729)

and after designs by Claude Audran III (French, before 1658 - 1734)

Gobelins Manufactory (French, founded 1662 - present)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Gobelins, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1728 - 1730

Medium:

Wool and silk; modern linen straps and lining

Dimensions:

351.5 x 273.4 cm (138 3/8 x 107 5/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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The French king Louis XV presented Germain-Louis Chauvelin, his Keeper of Seals, with this tapestry, originally one of a set of ten. Known as a portière, it would have hung across the door of a formal room to keep out drafts. Its prominent heraldic symbols would have clearly announced to visitors the importance of its owner and royal donor. Displayed under a gilded and tasseled canopy, the royal coat of arms appears against an ermine-lined mantle. The arms rest upon a gilt metal box decorated with fleur-de-lis and L's, the king's initial, representing the casket for the royal seals. The tapestry's wide border contains crossed maces, attributes of the keeper of seals; Chauvelin's monogram of interlaced C's; and his coat of arms in the four corners.

Around 1680, Louis XIV began a tradition of presenting his chancellor or his keeper of seals with a set of tapestries from the Gobelins tapestry manufactory. A powerful figure in the 1600s and 1700s, the keeper of seals acted as minister of justice and was second in command to the chancellor of France. The chancellor represented the person of the king, interpreted the royal will, and headed the judicial system. Chauvelin accepted the tapestry set around 1730, at the height of his career.

Provenance
by 1730 -

Woven for Germain-Louis de Chauvelin, marquis de Grosbois and garde des Sceaux, 1685 - 1762

- 1931

Mortimer Leo Schiff, 1877 - 1931 (New York City, New York), by inheritance to his son, John M. Schiff, 1931.

1931 - 1938

John Mortimer Schiff, 1904 - 1987 [sold, Christie's, London, June 22, 1938, lot 74, to J. Paul Getty.]

1938 - 1965

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1965.

Bibliography

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 149.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 101, no. 215.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), p. 172, no. 292.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 151, no. 305.