Upholstered à chassis with cartouche-shaped back, outcurved arms and serpentine seat, the frames carved with rocaille, acanthus and foliate-trails, on cabriole legs, covered in 18th century Beauvais tapestry
40 in. (101.6 cm.) high
The Collection of Walter Kaye; Sotheby's, New York, 23 November 2009, lot 91.
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Lot Essay

The Beauvais tapestry covering of the present lot is based on the fables of Jean La Fontaine (1621-1695), which were in turn based on Aesop's and Oriental fables. First published in 1668, La Fontaine's fables enjoyed enduring popularity and a second extended version was published in 1678-79, with a third addition in 1792-94. La Fontaine's works were produced by the Royal Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory. They first produced La Fontaine's fables in 1736 after a design by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755), who had been employed by the manufactory since 1726 and took over its directorship in 1734. Although he was contractually bound to deliver six cartoons for tapestries every three years, Oudry's style dominated Beauvais so strongly during this period that the workshop ceased all re-weavings of other subject matter. Voltaire even dubbed the workshop 'the kingdom of Oudry'. The fables proved such a successful tapestry design that by 1777 the main series had been copied no less than sixteen times.

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