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early 17th century
Not on display
Silk, Wool; Tapestry Weave
307.3 x 482.6 cm (121 x 190 in.)
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Bequest of Whitney Warren Jr. in memory of Mrs. Adolph Spreckels

Verdures, or “greenery” tapestries, mass-produced on the simplest level, trailed behind figured tapestries in prestige and in the price they commanded. They seldom bore the signature of the weaver. Nevertheless, their splendid decorative quality and continuing popularity over several centuries made them the bread-and-butter of certain weaving centers. Vegetation was the essential subject, but this often included more than plant forms or a landscape. Architectural elements, such as a distant castle or a bridge, crept into the design with small, recognizable, woodland animals in the foreground and an occasional hunter or shepherd in the distance. This landscape scene in bluish greens and golds has only a church, a bridge, and a house to suggest human presence. Three groups of trees rooted in the foreground establish a rhythmic division. More distant tree trunks and hedges, aligned for perspective effect, lead the eye to the low horizon. A large rabbit in the left grove, and a deer in the center, constitute the minimal fauna, together with the long-tailed birds near the lower edge and those among the carnations and tulips of the wide border. Blue and white vases hold the flowers in ascending tiers on the sides. Flowers hang in garlands on the top and bottom, with bows and an occasional blossom overlapping the “frame”. The dark brown shadow line edging the upper and the left border produces a trompe l’oeil effect. From Anna Gray Bennett, "Five Centuries of Tapestry: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco" (San Francisco: Chronicle Books; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1976; repr. 1992): 218.