A Mortlake ‘Playing Boys’ tapestry, circa 1670.

The Grape Harvest depicts a vine-clad arbour with a central group of two boys and another crawling between them.

Other children clamber in the vines above, whilst to the right there are two kneeling children with a basket of grapes, another carrying a basket on his head and a fourth with a long-handled fork and two more boys by a tree to the left, 405cm high, 426.5cm wide.

The Mortlake shield mark appears at the lower right.

The top borders have the wheatsheaf crest and supporters of the Earl of Exeter, probably referring to John, 4th Earl (1628-1678). They also have trophies of fruit; the sides with vine-clad corinthian columns supported by winged children.

The subject is also known as ‘Bacchanalian Children’, after Giulio Romano, circa 1670.

This tapestry was unhung for many years. It was stored in a box in the Prospect Room and has retained an astonishing amount of its original colour.


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