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Sketches for the Story of Jason


Jason swearing Eternal Affection to Medea and The Capture of the Golden Fleece are two of a series of seven illustrations of the story of Jason. Based on episodes in the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, they were made as sketches for cartoons for the Gobelins tapestry works in Paris.

The illustrations were commissioned on behalf of the king of France in 1742. The sketches were finished by 15 February 1743 and the full-size painted cartoons were completed by the end of August 1746. They arrived in Paris in September 1748 and weaving began at the Gobelins works the following year. No less than eight complete sets of tapestries were made, including one which was hung in the king’s room and throne room in the palace of Versailles. Another of the tapestry sets is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.