Original antique French 19th century Aubusson tapestry design or cartoon. As this is a large design it was most likely intended for a deep sofa or canape.
Tapestry cartoons were produced by local painters – and sometimes well known artists – as designs for hand weavers to follow in creating tapestries.
The designs were painted either in gouache on thick paper or oil on canvas and were pinned below the warp threads of the loom for the weaver to follow when creating tapestries. On completion the cartoon was rolled up and stored for future use. Wools and silks were dyed to match the colours of the cartoon which was often cut to allow the weaver, or weavers, to work on a section at a time.