Making Use Of Tapestries In Ancient Times

Usually large sizes looms have been used to weave tapestries on. Various types of threads have been used to make laces like gold, silk and silver threads weaving various pictures of subjects including those of the peasant scenes after Teniers, Biblical history, mythology, etc.

Tapestries have been used as wall hangings but unlike needlework, it was woven on a loom. It was also made in proportions much larger than would normally be used in hand-stitched embroidery; tapestry panels ranging from ten or twelve feet in height and twenty feet long are quite common. The primary medium was wool, but in special cases silk was also used. In some of the finest works the use of gold and silver can be seen.

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The main center of tapestry weaving from the year 1500 has been Brussels. But the outputs throughout the years have greatly varied in quality. Biblical and Roman history, peasant, mythology and scenes after Teniers were some of the subjects.

Most seventeenth-and eighteenth-century works are let down by the fact that over the years a murky brownish image has faded their red dyes. Brussels tapestries usually have a mark with a shield with the letter ‘B’ on either side. At times weavers add their names or initials, in the work. There were two important factories in France.

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Both the Gobelins and Beauvais were founded in the second half of the seventeenth century. While the former was a private concern with State support, the latter was a Royal factory and it was only in the late eighteenth century when one could buy any of its productions. Though both did work of the highest quality, Beauvais was mainly known for a series of panels based on the Fables of La Fontaine, and for many sets of settee covers and chairs.

The former was also made at Gobelins, where around 1775 they made beautiful and exemplary sets of furniture covers and matching wall hangings. Example of such decorative harmony is to be seen in a room designed by Robert Adam, remains at Osterley Park, near London. A set of furniture (shorn of its wall-hangings but even now intact Gobelins covers) made for Moor Park in Hertfordshire, is housed in the Museum of Art in Philadelphia. Some of these rich ensembles are intact even now, but a collection of tapestries that had been made for a store at Croome Park in Warwickshire.