This section is from the book "Tapestries; Their Origin, History And Renaissance", by George Leland Hunter. Also available from Amazon: Tapestries; Their Origin, History, And Renaissance.
Plate no. 327. Gothic Concert with verdure (mille fleur) ground, a masterpiece of design and weave, in a private collection. Wonderfully different this and infinitely superior to Renaissance and later verdures with their obtrusively shadowed leaves. Tapestries like this can be woven to-day.
The King's Return
Plate no. 329. The King's Return, a German tapestry in the Brussels Museum, 3 feet 9 by 13 feet 7, of the Late XIV or Early XV century, with descriptive scrolls that frame the scenes. The first scene on the left shows the return of the King to the Queen, the second the Banquet, the third the Game of Backgammon, the fourth the Visit to the Hermit, while beneath are inserted artfully and artlessly tiny scenes from humble life: the peasant pounding his lazy donkey toward the mill, two cherubs playing horse, a man rowing, etc., etc. The barefootedness of the royal personages above is naive to say the least.
Visiting the Gobelins. M. Guiffrey's book also has, what the other book lacks, an adequate index.
Guiffrey Seizième is a folio volume by Jules Guiffrey, entitled Les Tapisseries and covering the centuries XII to XVI. It is volume VI of Molinier's Histoire Generate des Arts Appliqués àl'Industrie and was published in Paris, 1911. It has 98 halftone illustrations in the text in addition to 15 photographic pages, and an excellent index.
Fenaille Gobelins, Guiffrey Gobelins, Badin Beauvais, are the most important books on the French National Looms. Of Maurice Fenaille's État General des Tapisseries de la Manufacture des Gobelins (1600-1900), three volumes have been published, the first covering the years 1662-1699, the second 1699-1736, the third 1737-1794, with introductory and final volumes still to come. Volume II bears the date 1903. The three volumes already issued contain over 225 full-page photographic illustrations besides line drawings on the text pages. Everything is given that could throw light on the product and activities of the Gobelins, and the book is rich with documents and records printed in full without change. Jules Guiffrey's Les Gobelins et Beauvais, Paris, 1908, is an attractive and inexpensive little volume with 94 illustrations in half-tone, and bibliography of the 15 principal books on these two ateliers. There is no index. Jules Badin's La Manufacture de Tapisseries de Beauvais, Paris, 1909, prints a wealth of records bearing on the history of the establishment and gives 30 large photographic illustrations of tapestries woven at Beauvais, among these a number of the famous ones designed for the Beauvais works by François Boucher. M. Guiffrey being manager (administrateur) of the Gobelins, and M. Badin of the Beauvais factory, they had unusual opportunities to get familiar with the facts. Valencia Spanish, Birk Austrian, Guichard French, Boettiger Swedish, are the most important volumes on national collections. Count Valencia de Don Juan's Tapices de la Corona de España, Madrid, 1903, in two portfolio volumes, contains 135 large photographic illustrations of tapestries in the Royal Spanish Collection, mostly XVI century Flemish tapestries of the highest quality, with short descriptions in French and reproductions in line of the marks and signatures. Dr. Ernst Ritter von Birk's Inventar der im Besitze des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses Befindlichen Niederländer Tapeten und Gobelins was published in the first four volumes, Vienna, 1883-86, of the Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses and contains 74 large photographic illustrations of tapestries, mostly of the XVI century, in the Imperial Austrian Collection. The text is a descriptive inventory with line reproduction of marks and signatures of the entire collection, non-illustrated as well as illustrated. The index is on pages 217-220 of volume II. Ed. Guichard's Les Tapisseries Decoratives du Garde-Meuble (French National Collection), in two volumes, with text by Alfred Darcel, published in Paris, 1881, contains 87 large photographic illustrations mostly of XVII and XVIII century Gobelins with only a few Flemish, Early XVII century Paris, and Mortlake. The introduction by Darcel is interesting, and so are his descriptions, but the failure to give sizes lessens the value of the book greatly. Dr. John Boettiger's Svenska Statens Samling af Väfda Tapeter is a de luxe book, in four volumes on handmade paper, published in Stockholm, 1898. It contains 150 folio pages of illustrations of XVI, XVII, XVIII century tapestries - Gobelins, Beau-vais, and Mortlake as well as Flemish - in the Royal Swedish Collection. The descriptive inventory in volume III is the best ever published, with accurate and adequate descriptions, and with line illustrations of marks and signatures. The fact that it is in Swedish, like the rest of the first three volumes, will lessen its value for general use. Fortunately volume IV, in French, contains a translation of the more important chapters that tell admirably the history of tapestry-weaving in Sweden and of the acquisition of tapestries from foreign countries. Volume IV also contains a list in French of the illustrations in all four volumes, and three indices - one of painters and designers, one of master weavers and proprietors, one of subjects pictured in the tapestries. Belgium 1880, Brussels 1905, Decoratifs 1882, are three books important in a tapestry library, illustrating and describing expositions. Especially valuable is the first, entitled Les Tapisseries Historiées a l'Exposition Beige de 1880, published in Brussels, 1881, by the artist H. F. Keuller, with text by Alphonse Wauters. The introductory text is interesting, but the list of tapestries exhibited, as well as the list of 127 folio pages of photographic illustrations (several in colour), is not sufficiently descriptive and does not even give sizes. The names of the exhibitors - among them Somzée, Spitzer, Erlanger, the King of Spain, Braquenié, Florence Museum, the Béguinage de Saint Trond, Prince Hohenzollern, City of Ghent - appear under the illustrations and in the list of illustrations. Plates 113, 114 give line illustrations of tapestry marks and monograms. Plates 115 to 127 give photographic illustrations of border details. Brussels 1905, is my abbreviation for Joseph Destrée's Tapisseries et Sculptures Bruxel-loises à l'Exposition d'Art Ancien Bruxellois, Juillet à Octobre, 1905, published in Brussels in 1906. M. Destrée's descriptions of the 32 photographic illustrations of tapestries (one cartoon) are adequate and interesting. Among the tapestries illustrated are the Gothic Annunciation, Adoration of the Magi, Louis XV raising the Siege of Salins, belonging to the Museum of the Gobelins; Mr. Morgan's Mazarin tapestry now lent to the Metropolitan Museum; the Brussels Museum's Notre Dame du Sablon; in colour, M. Leroy's exceedingly interesting Late Gothic triptych tapestry; the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple; the Brussels Museum's Late Gothic Descent from the Cross; and a section of the Late Gothic Bathsheba at the Fountain belonging to the city of Brussels. Decoratifs, 1882, is my abbreviation for Les Arts du Bois, des Tissus et du Papier, published in Paris in 1883, that reproduces inline the principal objects exhibited at the Seventh Exposition in Paris in 1882 of the Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs. Pages 111 to 134 are devoted to tapestry.