A mandolin, flute and fluttering sheet music rest on a stone pedestal as if the musicians had just stepped away on this tapestry cartone (or cartoon). It is an authentic antique which originates from a ancient defunct weaving factory in Aubusson France. It 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.
This example is painted (gouache) on linen. It would have been woven to cover the bottom of a large French bergere chair. Each color in the tapestry would have been woven with wool or silk thread which had been custom dyed to match the shade in each section of the cartone.
The pastoral setting in the background includes a tiny summer house sitting by a lake; tall trees reflect in the waters and the sky is a pale creme/pink such as one sees after a summer rain at sunset. The floral garland forms a beautiful frame. Pink roses, dahlias and blue forget me nots intertwine with green leave and flowing arabesques. The delicious muted colors are so very pretty in the pastoral setting. The wide solid edge is an fine ochre color.
It measures: 25 1/2" x 29 1/2". It is in very good antique condition: Some light "crackling" to the paint where the linen shows through on outside linen border (creme) and a bit of the ochre edge on the right. There are pin holes where the pattern has been attached to the loom. The design is intact; the colors are rich and brilliant.
As these patterns were working pieces, they were used two or three times. The large majority were destroyed because of wear and use. They are rare to find, especially in the condition of this example. This is not only a beautiful work of art, but an antique which had a purpose and place. It has a very precious provenance in the history of fine Aubusson tapestries.
Antique 19th Century French Aubusson Tapestry Painted Cartoon/Cartone