Who’s got a dog in this fight? Clearly, two male peasants do, as they try to separate the two battling beasts with a hayfork and a stick while a mother and child cower to the right. The rustic character of the scene is emphasized by a farmhouse to the right. In the foreground are logs, leafy plants and a brook or stream. Trees in full seasonal leaf close off the scene at the left and background the excitement. The palette is warm, with an assortment of browns, greys, greens, straw, sand and sienna. The clothes of the peasant women are touched in pale blue-greys, light yellow and ecru. The fallen dog is in shades of brown, while the collared aggressor has a dark brown and off white coat.
This wall hanging is executed in slit tapestry weave with wool pattern wefts.
The styles of clothing indicate an early 19th century date for the depicted event, but the piece is clearly later. Tapestry depictions of peasant scenes began in the 18th century in both Flanders and France with the work of the Flemish artist David Teniers II. These were popular in the cities with the rising affluent upper middle class who never came in contact with the real peasanterie, but who wanted to show their imagined roots in an agrarian lifestyle. In the 19th century, these tapestries were particularly popular in France. Unlike earlier tapestry sets, with an entire room hung with narrative scenes or iconic representations, these pieces served as accents in larger decorative schemes. In all likelihood, this is a single panel, with a somewhat stripped down image originally in painted form.
The 19th century had a predilection for “antique”-looking pieces with mellow colour palettes, as here, eschewing the more varied and saturated hues of the earlier pieces. Convenient, versatile size.
The condition is good. All four edges have been finished with plain ochre cloth.
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