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.
The Golden Age of Tapestry was the Gothic-Renaissance Transition. Then the weaver was all-powerful. Sketches and cartoons he interpreted freely into tapestry technique, using them rather as suggestion than as orders. With wool alone, or with wool and gold and silver, and little or no silk, he secured effects impossible with paint.
With the full Renaissance of the XVI century came Raphael, whose cartoons, illustrating the Acts of the Apostles for Pope Leo X, did irreparable harm to the art of telling stories decoratively in tapestry. After him, and as the result of his influence, weavers were urged to copy paintings slavishly and imitate paint technique.
The best tapestries woven in the XVII century, at Mortlake and the Gobelins, as well as at Brussels, were from XVI century cartoons, but with woven frames in deep shadow simulating high relief, that replaced the rich decorative borders of the Renaissance.
Queen Of Sheba
Plate no. 20. King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, an exquisitely beautiful Flemish Gothic tapestry at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan. It illustrates the effectiveness of tapestry texture as a medium for the expression of richly patterned textiles and robes.
In the XVIII century the victory of painters over weavers became complete, and at the Gobelins to Neilson, with his much-improved low-warp loom, was awarded the palm over the high-warp weavers, Audran and Cozette, because his tapestries wen,1 more exact copies of the cartoons. At the same time was introduced the type of tapestry illustrated by Charles Coypel's Don Quixote series, with tiny picture inside a large damassť mat and double gilt frame, all woven.
Most XVIII century tapestries are comparatively small and adapted for use in modern rooms and apartments. This has made them popular, and they often sell for prices that are as much too high as the prices of XV and XVI century tapestries are too low. Tapestries in bad condition that have been repaired too much or too little, are also apt to sell for more than they are worth, especially at publi: sales. The same is true of antique tapestries of inferior weave and design, and also of the imitation jacquard picture tapestries.
Apparently to some persons all tapestries look alike. I hope this volume will help them to realiz; that weave merit - not age or the name of the designer - distinguishes good tapestries from bad tapestries, and the masterpieces from the throng. It is weave merit that establishes extraordinary value for the Seven Sacraments belonging to the Metropol: -
Plate no. 31. A Gobelin tapestry designed by F. Ehrmann, whose signature appears in the lower right corner of the and Presented by France to Miss Alice Roosevelt on the occasion of her marrriage to Mr. Nicholas Longworth. The tapestry is 15 feet 4 by 8 feet 6, and now hangs in the entrance hall of the Cincinnati Museum, to which it has been lent by Mrs. Longworth. by whose permission it is reproduced on this [page. The subject is "The Manuscript" and as the inscription the portraits in the side borders are those of Fra Angelico and Jean Fouquet. The Gobelin mark - a G pierced with a broche tan Museum; for Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan's Mazarin tapestry, entitled the Triumph of Christ, and rich with wool and gold and silver and silk; for Mr. George Blumenthal's two Herse tapestries, also rich with gold and silver, and also on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum.
- appears the tiny cartouche in the base of each of the side borders, the R F of the-Republique Francaise in the cartouche in the top border.