This baptism scene is taking place in St. John’s Church in Ghent (now Saint Bavo Cathedral).

Philip, son of Jacob Van Artevelde (1290-1345), lies in the arms of his godmother, Philippine of Hainaut, who was also Queen of England. This godparenthood is a sign of gratitude for his father Jacob, who, as a popular leader in the then very rich and powerful Ghent, sided with the English during the Hundred Years’ War between France and England, while Ghent administratively belonged to the French King.

In making that choice, he safeguarded the prosperity of Ghent: its cloth weaving depended on the importation of high-quality wool from England.


tapestry - the baptism of Philip, son of Jacob Van Artevelde