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Master: The Story of Abraham Series
Item: The Separation of Abraham and Lot, Genesis Ch. 13, v. 8-9

Luxury hangings for royal residences

Attributed to Giulio Romano (Rome c. 1499-Mantua 1546)

Playing boys with an architectural background mid-seventeenth century

RCIN 28162

Ante-Chamber, Palace of Holyroodhouse

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Boys at play had been an enormously popular subject in tapestry since the creation of a set woven with gold and silver for Pope Leo X in Brussels in 1523. The theme nevertheless enjoyed renewed popularity in England in the mid-seventeenth century, when scenes of fruitfulness and harmony had particular appeal after the turmoil of the Civil War. In this panel, young children play and gather grapes from vines, surrounded by oak trees. To a sixteenth-century audience, this subject hinted at the dawn of a new Golden Age. Its symbolism had such a potent appeal that variations were produced in many centres of tapestry manufacture. This version was woven at Mortlake, possibly based on cartoons bought in Brussels. It is one of four from this series in the Royal Collection (see RCINs 28160, 28161 and 28163).