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Tapestry: "The Martyrdom of Saint Paul" (from the series "The Life of Saint Peter")

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The martyrdom of Saint Paul as represented here follows, with certain minor variations, the account given in the Golden Legend. The scene takes place in a hilly, wooded landscape. A city (Rome) appears in the distance. In the foreground, an executioner has just severed St. Paul's head which...

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About 1460, commissioned by Guillaume de Hellande (d. 1462), Bishop of Beauvais, for the cathedral of Beauvais; about 1793, removed from the cathedral [see note 1]. 1844, returned to the cathedral by M. Mansard, Voisinlieu (near Beauvais) [see note 2]; 1906, given back to the Mansard family [see note 3]. 1925, Arnold, Seligmann, Rey and Co., New York [see note 4]. William Randolph Hearst (b. 1863 - d. 1951), New York. 1938, Arnold, Seligmann Rey and Co., New York; 1938; sold by Arnold, Seligmann Rey to the MFA for $35,000. (Accession Date: April 16, 1938) NOTES: [1] This was part of a series of narrative tapestries depicting the Life of Saint Peter, presented by Guillaume de Hellande to the cathedral in commemoration of the truce signed at Tours during the Hundred Years' War. The series was dismantled and removed from the church during the French Revolution. See Pierre Constant Barraud, "Notice sur les tapisseries de la Cathédrale de Beauvais," Mémoires de la Société Académique du Département de l'Oise 2 (1852): 167-172. [2] Five tapestries from the series, which had been used to cover the walls of the criminal court, were returned to the cathedral in that year, and Mr. Mansard returned this tapestry at the same time. See Barraud 1852 (as above, n. 1), p. 172. [3] Marthe Crick-Kuntziger, "A Fragment of Guillaume de Hellande's Tapestries," Burlington Magazine 45, no. 260 (November, 1924), pp. 225-226. [4] George Leland Hunter, "Notes on Various Works of Art," Burlington Magazine 46, no. 265 (April, 1925), p. 193.

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912

French or Franco-Flemish, about 1460

Object Place

France or the Franco- Flemish territories


286 x 205 cm (112 5/8 x 80 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wool warp, wool, silk and metal-wrapped wefts; tapestry weave


Textiles and Fashion Arts