17th Century Flemish Tapestry from the Estate of Baron Munchausen


An exceptionally well preserved museum worthy 17th century Flemish Tapestry titled “Vanquished by Marauders in the forest” after patterns by David Teniers. This tapestry has a significant historical provenance and was one of a series of six tapestries that originally belonged to Hieronymus Karl Friedrich Von Münchhausen an 18th century German Aristocrat from Bodenwerder, Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The tapestries were made in in the Flemish Village of Oudenaarde in East Flanders, present day Belgium in the early 17th century. Records suggest that one of them was in fact signed Oudenaarde. The very first owners of the set of tapestries was the Wittelsbach family in Bavaria. The House of Wittelsbach is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria. A hundred years later, circa 1745 the tapestries passed on to the newly appointed emperor of Bohemia Karl VII. At the time practically all of Europe was embroiled in what historians now call the war of the Austrian succession (1740–1748). The cause of the war was Maria Theresa’s alleged ineligibility to succeed to her father the Hapsburg Charles VI’s various crowns, because salic law precluded royal inheritance by a woman. This was to be the key justification for France and Prussia, joined by Bavaria, to challenge Habsburg power. The war ended with the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, whereby the Victorious Maria Theresa was confirmed as Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary,

During the war, allegiances were made on both sides. The State of Hanover ,which at the time was part of the English Empire under King George II stood by the Emperor. To show his gratitude and despite losing the war, the Emperor gifted the six tapestries to the Acting Envoy of King George II in Hannover, Baron Von Munchhausen.

The tapestries remained in the Munchausen family estate in Leitzkau in Thuringen until 1905 when the tapestries were moved to the Landes Museum in Hannover. Why the Munchhausen family decided to move the tapestries to the Museum is not known. The tapestries resided at the Landes Museum for 40 years until 1945 when the Munchhausen family reclaimed them. This is where the tapestries journey takes an interesting turn. A lot of the nobility in Germany including the Munchhausens who did not subscribe to the Nazi Regime’s ideologies fled the country to countries where they felt they would be safe. It appears that a branch of the Munchhausens family ended up in neutral Sweden where the tapestries surface again. In 1946, from the Landes Museum in Hanover the tapestries were taken to Munchhausen family members living in Huddinge near Stockholm, Sweden. For a period of at least 5 years until 1953, it is recorded that the tapestries were hanging on loan in the National Hall of the famous Uppsala Castle in Sweden. In a letter dated December 9, 1952 from a Philipp A. Baron Von Munchhausen sent to the Governor of Uppsala Castle on behalf of the registered owner of the tapestries Nina Von Krusenstierna, the tapestries were offered to the castle permanently for an appraised price of 64,000 SEK. The governor was of course very interested and an offer of 60,000 SEK was made for them. However, the Munchhausen family stood firm on the price and the sale to Uppsala castle was not consummated. From here on one would speculate that the tapestries were sold as separate lots at auctions in the 1950s. This particular tapestry was acquired from an antique store in Toronto in the mid 1980s by a private collector Mr. Alan Lambert who passed in 2005. The whereabouts of the other five tapestries is sadly unknown.

Excellent condition and believed not to be reduced in size; some minor stitched repairs but no replacements;

Dimensions: approximately 132″W (335cm) x 84″H (213cm)

In stock