Instant replay of the results obtained by a 16th-century wool and silk tapestry with an aristolochia decoration, from Audenarde or Enghien.
Flanders, late 16th century, Audenarde or Enghien, tapestry with aristolochia, wool and silk, 207 x 295 cm.
At a sale in Saint-Etienne, in eastern central France, this piece had a marvellous surprise in store for art lovers when it soared up to €200,000, multiplying its estimate by six… A splendid victory at a time when medieval and Renaissance works are struggling to find takers. True, this result was justified by its remarkable condition, and its amazingly fresh colours in particular. The tapestry came from a Burgundy collection and eventually went to a British connoisseur. It is also remarkable for its rich decoration of aristolochia and clusters of daisies, poppies, daffodils, violets, periwinkles and columbines, with five birds playing merrily among them. The border is equally opulent, ornamented with a mixture of irises and vine branches. Each corner features as yet unidentified coats of arms. The piece was woven at either Audenarde or Enghien: two Flemish cities that became famous for their tapestries in the 15th century, their output reaching a peak the following century. In Audenarde, the guild of tapestry weavers is mentioned for the first time in 1441, and a few decades later the Enghien factory began exporting its works to the Duchy of Burgundy.