This is one of the fourteen panels of the Histoire du Roi, woven at Les Gobelins from cartoons by Charles Lebrun, with whom François van der Meulen collaborated on the collections. Louis XIV on horseback receives the defeated and submissive inhabitants of the town of Marsal in Lorraine, conquered on September 1st, 1663.
The series was conceived as a propaganda instrument in order to dissemínate the grandeur of the French monarch, and it very possibly drew its inspiration from the Salón de Reinos of the Buen Retiro in Madrid, But as opposed to the laudatory portrayal of Felipe IV, in these cartons there is no sign of elegance in the claiming of victory, nor or the benevolence shown to the defeated as depicted by Velázquez, but merely the disdainful superiority of the absolute monarch.
Woven several times, the Prínceps series has a border (the cartons of which are in the Louvre) of flowers and fruit coiled around a chestnut pole decorated with fleurs-de-lys. In their upper part is the coat of arms of France, and at the bottom are the crowned initials of the king. In the four corners there are circular medallions, each with a fleur-de-lys.
Iit is possible that, given the simplicity of the border, the Santander Bank’s panel belongs to a series woven in 1732-1736. The tapestry came from the French Embassy in Rome, from where it was removed during the Revolution, going first to a collection in Pamplona and then to the Bank.