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Tapestries of the story of st Etienne

This exceptional series of 12 tapestries depicts the life, martyrdom and posthumous miracles of Etienne, patron saint of Auxerre cathedral, in 23 scenes. It was commissioned for this building by the bishop Jean III Baillet, whose coats of arms appear multiple times.

The templates for the wall-hanging are attributed to a Nordic painter, Gaultier de Campes, who lived in Paris.

From his election to the deacons to his burial in Rome, the episodes of St Etienne’s life are recounted in compositions teeming with evocative details, annotated with captions woven at the foot of each scene. Architecture, furniture, characters dressed in the fashions of the time, animals and monsters all help to illustrate a tale in which the supernatural intervenes in various forms, up to and including the final episode, when the deacon St Lawrence takes the place of Etienne’s body in his tomb.

Commissioned by Jean III Baillet, bishop of Auxerre (1477-1513).

Acquired in 1880 (two pieces acquired by the Louvre in 1838 were granted in 1897).

Inventory no.: Cl. 9930 - Cl. 9938 and Cl. 20200, Cl.20201
Height: 163 - 178 cm
Width: (total) 450 cm
Place of production: Paris
Destination: St Etienne cathedral in Auxerre
Periods: 4th quarter of the 15th century; 1st quarter of the 16th century
Technique: tapestry