The J. Paul Getty Museum

Tapestry: Chancellerie

Object Details


Tapestry: Chancellerie


Executed by Etienne-Claude Le Blond (French, about 1700 - 1751)
After designs by Guy-Louis Vernansal (French, 1648 - 1729)
and after designs by Claude Audran III (French, before 1658 - 1734)
Royal Factory of Furniture to the Crown at the Gobelins Manufactory (French, founded 1662 - present)




Gobelins, France (Place Created)


about 1728–1730


Wool and silk; modern linen straps and lining

Object Number:



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

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Object Description

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.

- 1931

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

1931 - 1938

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

1938 - 1965

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


Fenaille, Maurice. Etat général des tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins (Paris: Imprimerie nationale: Hachette, 1903), vol. 3, p. 139.

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Valentiner, William R., and Paul Wescher. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1954), p. 16, no. 2.

Getty, J. Paul, and Ethel Le Vane. Collector's Choice: The Chronicle of an Artistic Odyssey through Europe (London: W. H. Allen, 1955), pp. 170-71, ill. facing p. 176.

Valentiner, William R., and Paul Wescher. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1956), p. 30, no. 2.

Getty, J. Paul. Chefs-d'oeuvre de la collection J. Paul Getty (Monaco: Jaspard, Polus & Cie, 1963), p. 133.

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Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), pp. 162-163, ill.

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Standen, Edith Appleton. European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2 vols. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985), vol. 1, pp. 361-64.

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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.

Bremer-David, Charissa. French Tapestries and Textiles in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 28-33, no. 4.

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.