Victoria and Albert Museum wall hanging
The 17th century wall hanging recently acquired from De Wit Fine Tapestries by the Victoria & Albert Museum. Image: De Wit Fine Tapestries.

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The Victoria & Albert Museum has purchased a rare 17th century wall hanging from the Belgian restorer and weaver De Wit Fine Tapestries.

The wool and silk embroidery on canvas, measuring 14ft 5in x 8ft 10in (4.4 x 2.7m),  is part of a series of eight commissioned by Madame de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV.

They were intended to represent the King, de Montespan and six of their children as the seasons or elements of nature. This particular example shows their second son, Louis César de Bourbon, Count of Vexin, as Bacchus Triumphant.

It was made c.1683 in the Paris workshops of the convent of St Joseph where Madame de Montespan found refuge after her dismissal from court. Four other works from the series are now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The V&A purchased its wall hanging earlier this year on De Wit’s stand at this year’s BRAFA fair in Brussels.