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Item # 31163 Period Antique Historical Tapestry 10'0" H x 14'6" W
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Item Number: 31163
Name: Historical Tapestry
Size: 10' 0" H x 14' 6" W
(3.05m x 4.42m)
Origin: Flanders
Size Category: Horizontal Tapestries
Antiquity: Circa 17th Century
Period Antique
Primary Design: Pictorial
Sub-Design: Directional
Design Genre Genre Tapestry
Historical Tapestry
Romantic Tapestry
Field Color:
Light Brown
Border Color:
Composition: Wool with silk inlay
Condition: Very Good
Subject: The Marriage of the Roman King, Numo Pompilio

A Flemish historical tapestry, from the weaving center of Antwerp, woven in the third quarter of the 17th century, and attributed to Jan Frans Cornelissen.  The tapestry depicts “The Marriage of Numo Pompilio,” from the series, “The Story of Numo Pompilio.”

The tapestry depicts the second king of Rome, Numo Pompilio, standing at left with his advisers, marrying Tatius, the daughter of the Sabine king, standing on the elevated platform at right with her entourage, within a regal setting with Roman columns in the background.  Enclosed on three sides by an elaborate scrolling border, with images of nymphs, maidens, vases, putti, floral sprays and garlands, and connected by a crest at top center.  Wool with silk inlay.

Subject: According to Plutarch (circa 46-119 AD), Numo Pompilio (715-673 BC) was the second King of Rome after Romulus.  After the death or disappearance of Romulus and the subsequent interregnum (a year without a king), Pompilio was elected by a council of Romans to be the next king, without his own knowledge, and was notified by the ambassadors, Proculo and Veleso of his newfound kingship.  Pompilio initially rejected the offer because of his pacifist views, his intellectual interests, and his rural mentality, but he was convinced to accept by another prominent Roman statesman, Maricio.  As king, he strengthened the peace agreements and rights laws between Rome and other cities, created major religious institutions (including the famed Temple of Janus at the foot of Mount Argiletum, as well as the Temple of the Vestal), reformed the calendar by dividing it into twelve lunar months, and organized the first corporation of various classes of artisans.  He married Titus Tatius, the daughter of the Sabine king.

History: The series, “The Story of Numo Pompilio,” is believed to have been designed in the 1660’s, and to have been sold through the merchants Forchoudt in Antwerp.  Their inventories first mention the series in 1669 in two entries as a set of eight tapestries and another of six panels, while it is mentioned again in 1670, 1675, 1677, and 1678 (each time in reference to Jan Frans Cornelissen), and again in 1681 and 1682 (in reference to Anna Maria Wauters).

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