27 March 2019
A Flemish woven wool figural tapestry
A Flemish woven wool figural tapestry, late 17th/ early 18th century, depicting a classical scene, probably the sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis, with a central maiden seated on an altar, surrounded by draped figures to either side, before a background with classical architecture and a ship, within foliate border, later backed, approximately 291cm high, 357cm wide
This tapestry likely depicts a scene from the story of Iphigenia at Aulis, chronicled by the Greek tragedian Euripides (circa 480-106 BC). During their journey to the city of Troy, the Greek troops angered the Goddess Artemis. In revenge, the deity took away all wind, leaving the army stranded at the port town of Aulis. The ship with lowered masts and sails to the lower right of the tapestry could allude to the armys inability to sail. King Agamemnon, depicted to the centre right, holding a dagger, was forced to sacrifice his own daughter Iphigenia to appease the Gods. The draped lady to the left of the altar may be Iphigenias grieving mother Clytemnestra.
A similar Flemish tapestry depicting the next part of the story, which sees Iphigenia miraculously saved and replaced by a deer on the altar, was sold at Bonhams, The Oak Interior, The Collection of Dr and Mrs Chris Douglas, Morville Hall, Shropshire, 30 Apr 2014, Lot 175