Village Fete (Saint George's Fair), from a Teniers series

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After a design by David II Teniers (1610–1690)
Woven at the workshop of Gaspard (Jasper) van der Borcht (1675–1742)
Flanders, Brussels

Village Fete (Saint George's Fair), from a Teniers series, c. 1710

Wool and silk, slit and double interlocking tapestry weave
449.6 x 320.7 cm (177 x 126 1/4 in.)
Gift of Marshall Field and Company, 1952.1246

This tapestry shows a group of peasants and townspeople dancing and partaking in a feast in front of houses and other buildings. A flag fluttering from the attic window of a tavern depicts Saint George, the patron saint of agricultural workers, an indication that the festivities are taking place on his saint’s day, April 23. Such portrayals of country life were extremely popular in 18th-century Europe. They are called Teniers, after the 17th-century Flemish artist David II Teniers, who was known as a painter of peasants and village feasts, and whose sympathetic depiction of rural life distinguished his work from traditional approaches to the genre. Archival evidence indicates that Teniers himself designed a tapestry set showing such scenes, and that this piece, Village Fete, forms part of this influential initial series. At least five other episodes comprise the set, including Milking Scene, Fish Quay, Gypsy Fortune-Teller, Hunters Resting, and Fruit and Vegetable Market.

— Exhibition label, The Divine Art: Four Centuries of European Tapestries, November 1, 2008–January 4, 2009, Regenstein Hall.