jan van tiegen - Abraham Receives Rebecca, 1550-1600

Attributed to jan van tiegen (active about 1550)

Abraham Receives Rebecca, 1550-1600

Wool warp (6 yarns per cm); wool and silk wefts, 345.4 x 541 cm (136 x 213 in.) overall


Object details

Accession number



Traditionally, said to have been commissioned by Pope Urban VIII Barberini (1623-1644).
Aquired by the Barberini family probably after 1644 as a set of eight History of Abraham tapestries.
Included in the inventory of Palazzo Barberini ai Giubbonari, Rome, 9 August 1671 (see Bertrand, Appendex A.10.644, 655). Three tapestries were installed in the Vicolo dei Balestrari and five in an antechamber probably used as a reception hall.
Included in the inventory of Palazzo Barberini alla Quattro Fontane, Rome, 1686. (see Bertrand, Appendex A.12.741.
Five of the Abraham tapestries remained with the Barberini family until the late nineteenth century.
These five tapestries were purchased by Mrs. Charles Mather Ffoulke (Sarah Adeline Cushing, 1852-1926), Washington, DC from the Principessa Barberini, Rome in 1889, through her husband the tapestry collector and scholar Charles Mather Foulke (1841-1909).
Isabella Stewart Gardner agreed to purchase the five Abraham tapestries, as well as the Life of Cyrus series (museum nos. T19w2-s, T19e4-s, T19w18-s, T19e57-s, T19e36-s), the Chateau and Gardens series (museum nos. T18s5-s, T18w1-s, T18e5-s, T18e35-s) and one additional tapestry (museum no. T22s3) from Sarah Adeline Cushing on 24 December 1903.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Sarah Adeline Cushing, Washington, DC for $33,750 (for the set of five tapestries) over a series of payments made from 1905 to 1906, through Charles Mather Ffoulke.
Due to the high cost of import duties, two of the Abraham tapestries remained in Europe until 1908 in the care of Mrs. Thomas Lincoln Chadbourne (Emily R. Crane, 1871-1964). Their arrival to Boston was delayed further by a customs dispute (for more information, see Carter, pp. 231-32).


Inscribed (tablet, upper center): DVCITVR HIC REBECCA DOMV COMITATE MINISTRO / IN DOMINI THALAMOS EXCIPIENDA SVI. GENESIS 24 (Here Rebecca is led courteously homeward by the servant to be received into her master's chamber," a summary of Genesis: 24:61-67)
Inscribed (left end, bottom outer guard): Brussels mark
Inscribed (lower right, outer guard): Jan van Tieghem's (?) mark


Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), pp. 215, 230, 241.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), pp. 157-58, 160, no. V. (as by Johann van Tiegen, Brussels, about the middle of the 16th century)
Betty Chamberlain. “Tapestry Room” in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 35.
Corinna Lindon Smith. Interesting People (Norman, Oklahoma, 1962), pp. 164, 167.
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), pp. 140, 142-43. (as Brussels, 16th century; discusses the Emily Chadbourne affair and difficulties during export)
Gail Black. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 13 (25 Nov. 1962), p. 2. (as woven in Brabant, second half of the 16th century)
William N. Mason. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 37 (12 May 1963), p. 2. (discusses a tapestry in this set, museum no. T19w48-s)
Jean-Paul Asselberghs. Les tapisseries flamandes aux Etats-Unis d'Amérique (Brussels, 1974), p. 13. (as Brussels, third quarter of the 16th century; mark attributed to Jean van Tieghem)
Adolph S. Cavollo. "An Introduction to the Textile Collection at Fenway Court." Fenway Court (1981), pp. 8-9. (as Flemish, Brussels, 1550-1600)
Adolph S. Cavallo. Textiles: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1986), pp. 58-65, no. 11e. (as Flemish, Brussels, 1550-1600; Jan van Tieghem as "the putative weaver" of the series)
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), p. 113.
Pascal-François Bertrand. Les tapisseries des Barberini et la décoration d'intérieur dans la Rome baroque (Turnhout, Belgium 2005), pp. 72, 90, 93-94, 102, 135, figs. 131-32, app. A.10.644, 655, A.12.741. (as workshop of Jean van Tieghem?, second half of the 16th century; alternatively as, school of Bernard van Orley)

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Isabella Stewart Gardner kept meticulous records of many of her acquisitions. In keeping with this legacy, object information is continually being reviewed, updated, and enriched in order to give greater access to the collection.