The hand painted details of this enchanting cartone are absolutely exquisite. This large cartone served as the pattern for a loomed tapestry for a large French chair. It originates from Aubusson, France and dates circa 1850.
The painting was executed by a skilled artist onto linen cloth. The word cartone or cartoon is used in describing the pasteboard onto which the "modello" for a tapestry is made for the weaver. To form the tapestry, the cartoons were either temporarily attached to the loom, (which would then be fitted flush to the backs of the warp threads, and visible in the gaps between the warps); or alternatively for a large tapestry, they were hung on the wall behind the weavers, who followed it by looking at its reflection in a mirror behind the warps.
The design in gouache, is the exact size of the tapestry which was to be created. The wools and silks were dyed to match the painting. This particular cartone is for the back of a large French chaise/chair. Entitled "Le Berger Attentif" (the attentive shepherd), it presents a very handsome 18th century shepherd, in a pastoral setting which is framed by a floral festoon.
The shepherd as a reflective expression on his handsome face which is the epitome of and 18th century man; beautiful curling hair, rosy lips, fine profile). His clothing details are so very beautiful, pink ribbons serve as the ties for his shoes and to hold his white silk stockings up. His breeches are rose pink, his coat French blue, He has a gold colored gilet or vest and wears a white shirt underneath. There is a pretty pink bow at his neck. His favorite sheep lies peacefully beside him, she is so lovely with thick fleece and a benevolent face.
The pastoral scene into which he is placed is muted and eloquent. He sits against a rock with soft figures of trees surrounding him. The floral festoon is vivid with pink roses, white dahlias, blue mums and gilt arabesques. Sage green, deep green and olive green leaves tuck in between the flowers. The solid background is a deep shade of rose clay. The paint is thick (there are slight line folds where the cartone has been stored; these do flatten out when the cartone is ironed from the backside NOT the painted side). The original title and purpose is handwritten on the bottom left side, there is a manuscript number at the top left (No 3). The title is written on the back as well.
It measures: 30" x 26": the seat design alone 23 1/2" x 20", the berger figure 11" tall. It is in very good antique condition ( has been a working item for over 150 years) : the painted design is intact, the colors absolutely brilliant. Some very slight wear to paint as is typical with age and use. Fold lines visible from years of use and storage; there is very slight wear to the cloth which can be seen when held up to the light.
The cartone/cartoon was a working item which was most often discarded. For this reason they are a very rare find. This example was part of a grouping rescued from a defunct factory workshop in Aubusson, France. It is a precious working object which holds a priceless charm from the past.
RARE Large Antique 19th Century French Aubusson Tapestry Painted Cartoon/Cartone Le Berger