Jean Walois

(fl. 1411—1445)

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(fl 1411–45). Netherlandish tapestry merchant. At the time when Arras was the most important centre of production of tapestry of the highest quality, he was probably the most prominent tapestry merchant there for nearly three decades. Between 1413 and 1445 he supplied John the Fearless and Philip the Good, successive dukes of Burgundy, with many tapestries for their own use and as dynastic and diplomatic gifts. Particularly prominent among his sales were individual pieces and sets depicting hunting scenes, such as those destined for Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany, in 1415, Jean, Duc de Touraine and his wife, Jacqueline of Bavaria, in 1416, Philip the Good in 1428 and Arnold, Duke of Guelders, in 1435. Comparison with other contemporary sales has suggested such subjects as a specialization or even a monopoly in Walois's trade. Inevitably (although without further evidence) his name has been associated with the four Devonshire Hunting Tapestries (London, V&A) and two further hunting tapestries (Glasgow, Burrell Col. and Minneapolis, MN, Inst. A.). His success was undoubtedly founded on the legacy of his parents, both of whom were members of highly influential and wealthy Arras families. Huart, his father (d 1413), held high civic office from 1372 to his death, and his mother Marguerite (d 1377) was the daughter of Vincent Boursette, himself a wealthy Arras tapestry merchant. Both Huart and Marguerite are named in sales of tapestry to the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy, and on the Duchess's death in 1405 they were entrusted with some of her possessions, including many tapestries.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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