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Romantic English

News of the Stag from the series known as the Hunters' Chase RE787733

News of the Stag from the series known as the Hunters' Chase RE787733

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Ah, what we have here is nothing less than a thread in the grand tapestry of history itself. A piece from the eminent ensemble known as the Hunters' Chase, which, in a twist as delicious as it is unexpected, owes its genesis to a commission from the Dutch Church of London in the mid-seventeenth century. In the year of our Lord 1645, to be precise.

It was the rather talented Francis Clein who conjured up four of these woven wonders anew, whilst the remainder of the series took a respectful nod to the pastiche, borrowing heavily from the illustrious works of one Bernard van Orley, a sixteenth-century maestro whose Hunts of Maximilian series was the talk of Brussels—and beyond.

Our very own Hunters' Chase, with its scenes of aristocratic pursuit and pastoral frolic, caught the imagination of the public with such vigor that it brought a veritable flurry of patronage to the doors of the struggling Mortlake workshop. Indeed, such was the clamor for these pieces that no fewer than eight re-editions were crafted in the ensuing years.

Among these was the splendid News of the Stag, a tale woven in wool and silk, bursting with the urgency of the chase and the pastoral calm of the countryside—a piece that echoes with the horn calls and hound barks of yesteryear, a true paean to the sylvan sports of yore.

This tapestry is a vivid and dynamic portrayal of a hunting scene, a popular pastime in aristocratic circles of the Renaissance period, as suggested by the clothing and setting.

The piece is framed by an ornate border resembling a classical stage, complete with architectural columns, swags, and fruit-laden garlands. Statuesque figures, possibly representing mythological or allegorical figures, are carved into the columns, imbuing the scene with a sense of grandeur and the idea that this is a significant event.

At the center of the action, a man in a red, patterned jacket, likely the leader of the hunt, is mounted on a horse. He dominates the composition, poised with a sense of motion and command. His attire is richly detailed, with puffed sleeves and gold accents, indicating his high status.

Around him, other hunters and hounds are in various stages of pursuit. The hounds are vigorously engaged in the hunt, and one seems to have caught the scent of their quarry, signaling to the other participants. The horses, beautifully rendered with a sense of muscle and movement, carry riders who are actively participating in the chase, their attention fixed on the task at hand.

In the background, a serene landscape stretches out, featuring a forest and open fields, with a steepled building in the distance, possibly a church or manor house, suggesting the hunt is taking place on a noble estate.

The color palette is rich with earthy tones and natural hues that evoke the outdoors, while the careful use of perspective draws the viewer into the scene. The tapestry is not just a decorative piece but also a narrative one, telling the story of the hunt and capturing a moment of excitement and anticipation in high society.


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