Panel from a Set of Bed Hangings

Printed by Petitpierre Frères et Cie, Nantes, France, 1770 - 1791

Made in Nantes, France, Europe


Copperplate print on cotton plain weave

7 feet 6 inches × 39 inches (228.6 × 99.1 cm) Pattern Repeat: 40 x 37 1/2inches (101.6 x 95.3cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Charles H. Ludington, 1926

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This design was the first copperplate print made by the firm Petitpierre in Nantes, France. Its title "Panurge dans l'île des lanternes" (Panurge on the Island of the Lanterns) is taken from the three-act opera by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (1741-1813) produced in 1785, which was itself inspired by François Rabelais's novel Gargantua and Pantagruel (1534). In the opera, the librettist Etienne Morel de Chédeville uses a description from Jean Baptiste du Halde's book Description géographique, historique, chronologique, politique et physique de l'empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie chinoise (1735) to give the imaginary island inhabited by literary charlatans a fashionable Chinese association. In the textile, these references are subtle: lanterns and several vaguely Chinese-like figures, including one fishing from a bridge.

Additional information:
  • PublicationThe Fine Art of Textiles

    Detail from a set of bed hangings. The subject is based on a light opera by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (1741 - 1813), which itself was inspired by Rabelais's Gargantua (1534) and Jean Baptiste du Halde's l'empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie Chinoise (1735). This design, which was the first printed by Petitpierre Frères, is also found in other textiles in the museum's collection. Dilys E. Blum, from The Fine Art of Textiles: The Collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), p. 42.