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Mercury and Argus

Hendrik II Reydams (fl. 1669 – d. 1719)

Category

Tapestries

Date

circa 1670 - circa 1682

Materials

Tapestry, wool, silk, metal thread and cotton.

Measurements

3060 x 1930 mm

Place of origin

Brussels

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Collection

Knole, Kent (Accredited Museum)

NT 130082.5

Summary

Tapestry, wool and silk, Mercury and Argus from a set of Stories from Ovid, Hendrik II Reydams, Brussels, c. 1670-1682. Mercury, with a winged helmet and a caduceus on the ground beside him, plays his pipes to lull Argus to sleep. The setting is a wooded landscape. Mercury was sent by Zeus to free the nymph Io, who had been transformed into a white heifer and was being guarded by the giant Argus. Mercury lulled Argus to sleep and then killed him with a stone. The borders are of fruit, leaves and birds on a brown ground. The tapestry is one of six with stories from Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ made in Brussels by Hendrik II Reydams, whose signature appears on most of the set along with the mark of the city. The tapestries may be the ‘6 peces of Tapestry Storys out of Ovid out of ye ante Chamber to the Rich bed Chamber’, listed among a load of goods ‘Caried from [?Copt]hall to Knowle out of ye Qu[en]es C[?hamber]’ on 13 December 1700. This indicates that the tapestries may have among the goods taken as perquisites by the 6th Earl of Dorset from Queen Mary’s apartments at Whitehall after her death in 1695.

Credit line

Knole, The Sackville Collection (The National Trust)

Marks and inscriptions

On lower galloon: two ‘B’s either side of a red shield (mark of the city of Brussels) On lower galloon: ‘H REYDAMS’

Makers and roles

Hendrik II Reydams (fl. 1669 – d. 1719), workshop

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