The J. Paul Getty Museum

Tapestry: L'Aurore et Céphale, from Les Tentures de François Boucher Series

Object Details


Tapestry: L'Aurore et Céphale, from Les Tentures de François Boucher Series


After painting by François Boucher (French, 1703 - 1770)

and after designs by Maurice Jacques (French, about 1712 - 1784)

and after designs by Louis Tessier (French, about 1719 - 1781)

and Jacques Neilson (British, Scottish, about 1718 - 1788)

Royal Factory of Furniture to the Crown at the Gobelins Manufactory (French, founded 1662)




France (Place Created)




Wool and silk; modern linen lining

Object Number:



382.9 × 316.5 cm (150 3/4 × 124 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

Based on Book VII of Ovid's Metamorphoses, the roundel in this tapestry shows Aurora, goddess of the dawn, gazing upon the sleeping form of her lover, the hunter Cephalus. She sits among clouds with the morning star shining on her forehead. Cephalus, a mortal who is bound to the earth, reclines on the forest floor, but his dog awakens as the goddess approaches.

This roundel imitates a painting set in an oval frame, complete with François Boucher's signature under Cephalus. Exotic birds and a hunting trophy in the center ornament the alentours or decorative setting, which was narrower than others in the set in order to fit the shorter wall of a room.

This tapestry is also based on designs by Louis Tessier and Jacques Neilson.


Louis XVI, King of France, French, 1754 - 1793, given as one of a set of four tapestries to Grand Duke Paul Petrovitch and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia in 1782.

1782 - 1801

Grand Duke Paul Petrovitch of Russia, later Czar Paul I, 1754 - 1801 and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia, 1759 - 1828 (hung initially in the Grand Duke's Cabinet des tapisseries at the Palace of Pavlovsk, near St. Petersburg, Russia), by inheritance within the Russian Imperial Collection.

1801 - 1917

Russian Imperial Collection (Palace of Pavlovsk, near St. Petersburg, Russia), nationalized during the Russian Revolution.

after 1917 - 1931/1932

Soviet government, Russian, (Palace of Pavlovsk), and delivered to the State Trading Office known as Antikvariart on September 17, 1931 [sold 1932 to Joseph Duveen].

1932 - 1964

Duveen Brothers, Inc. (New York City, New York)
Source: Duveen Bros. Records, Pavlovsk Palace Collection, GRI, 960015, b.271, f.23; Correspondence: Carlhian et Cie, 1946-1961, b.356, f.1; Photographs and inventories [...], 1920s, Duveen Stock Documentation, GRI, 2007.D.1, b.673, f.3, b.676, f.3, b.677.

1964 - 1971

Norton Simon, American, 1907 - 1993
Source: Duveen Bros. Records, Edward Fowles papers, 1907-1981: Edward Fowles Correspondence with Norton Simon, 1961-1974, GRI, 960015, b. 407, f. 3-4. Listed under the stock number 29618.


through The Norton Simon Foundation [sold as one of a set of four tapestries, Parke-Bernet, New York, May 8, 1971, lot 233, to the J. Paul Getty Museum]

The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972

Fenaille, Maurice. Etat général des tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins (Paris: Imprimerie nationale: Hachette, 1903), vol. 4, pp. 285-87.

Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Maria. "Descriptions of the Grand Palace of Pavlovsk, 1795." Les Trésors d'art en Russie. Alexander Benois, ed. (St. Petersburg, 1907), vol. 3 (1903), p. 375 ill., plates 116-15 and pp. 349-50.

Hunter, George Leland. The Practical Book of Tapestries (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1925), p. 190.

Conway, Martin. Art Treasures in Soviet Russia (London: Edward Arnold & Co, 1925), p. 125.

Ackerman, Phyllis. Tapestry: the Mirror of Civilization (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933), p. 277, pl. 45.

Dauterman, Carl Christian, James Parker, and Edith Appleton Standen. Decorative Art from the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Tapestry Room from Croome Court, Furniture, Textiles, Sèvres Porcelains, and Other Objects (London: Phaidon Press for the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1964), p. 52, in the entry by Standen, "The Tapestry Room from Croome Court.".

Jarry, Madeleine. "A Wealth of Boucher Tapestries in American Museums." Antiques (August 1972), pp. 222-31.

The J. Paul Getty Collection, exh. cat. (Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1972), unpaginated, no. 60, ill.

Frel, Jiri, Burton B. Fredericksen, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook, 3rd ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 85, 87, ill.

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. 172, ill.

Wilson, Gillian. "The J. Paul Getty Museum, 7ème partie: Le Mobilier Louis XVI." Connaissance des arts 280 (June 1975), p. 95, ill.

Fowles, Edward. Memories of Duveen Brothers (London: Times Books, 1976), pp. 195, 198 and ill. between pp. 104-5.

Wilson, Gillian. Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1977), pp. 82, 84, no. 109.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), pp. 120-21, ill.

Wilson, Gillian. Selections from the Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), pp. 76-77, no. 38.

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, p. 397.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), pp. 106-7, no. 224.

Standen, Edith A. "Boucher as a Tapestry Designer." François Boucher 1703-1770, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986), pp. 325-33.

Massie, Suzanne. Pavlovsk: The Life of a Russian Palace (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990), p. 310.

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), pp. 177-78, no. 301.

Ducamp, Emmanuel, ed. Pavlosk: The Palace and the Park (Paris: Alain de Gourcuff, 1993), p. 53.

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Krieg und Frieden: Eine Deutsche Zarin in Schloss Pawlowsk, exh. cat. (Munich: Haus der Kunst, 2001- 2002), pp. 322-23, no. 186.

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