Hawking Scene
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Woven in wool, tapestries like these covered the walls of castles, acting as insulation from the damp and cold. They were also used as courtly decoration, their cost and display of aristocratic life indicating the owners’ high social status. In this tapestry, a company of noblemen sets out for the hunt, a patrician activity that followed established rules affirming social hierarchies. The figures, dressed in elaborate robes and fine hats, include one who is bearded and wears a turban, suggesting a connection to the Islamic world. The aristocratic men’s finery contrasts with the plain clothes of the peasants they meet on the right. It is not known for whom this tapestry was made, but it was probably woven in Flanders, perhaps in Tournai, a region famous for the production of these textiles.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1959.112.1
People
Unidentified Artist
Title
Hawking Scene
Classification
Textile Arts
Work Type
tapestry
Date
c. 1495-1515
Places
Creation Place: Europe, Belgium, Tournai
Culture
Flemish
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Wool
Dimensions
319.4 x 296.2 cm (125 3/4 x 116 5/8 in.)
Provenance
Herbert Lee Pratt, New York. Emmet Blakeney Gleason, bequest to the Fogg Art Museum, 1959.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Emmet Blakeney Gleason
Accession Year
1959
Object Number
1959.112.1
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
A hawking company emerges from a castle to set out on a hunt. Two noblemen are shown on horseback while three others are on foot. They hold up hawks, a hunting horn, a sword and a bow and arrow. In the right foreground we see peasants, one of whom has taken off his cap to greet the nobles. The landscape background features two rustics and cottages. The tapestry misses its original borders and it was likely cut down on all sides. The style, subject and landscape with milles-fleurs and elevated horizon are characteristic of tapestry production in Tournai around 1515.
Publication History

Phyllis Ackerman, The Rockefeller McCormick Tapestries: - Three Early Sixteenth Century Tapestries (New York, 1932), vol. 1, p. 11.; vol. 2, plate 27.

Jean-Paul Asselberghs, Tapisseries Héraldiques et de la vie Quotidienne, exh. cat. (Tournai, 1970), no. 20, repr. in b/w

Jean-Paul Asselberghs, Les tapisseries flamandes aux états-unis d'amérique, Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire (Brussels, 1974), p. 16

Exhibition History

The World of the Middle Ages in the Thiebold Schilling Chronicle, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 10/07/1974 - 11/08/1974

32Q: 2440 Medieval, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 01/12/2017

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu