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The Tapestry Book, by Helen... - Yesterday Image

The Tapestry Book, by Helen... - Yesterday Image


The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 116 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 especially the verdures of Oudry on which he left the trace of his talent, never omitting the characteristic fox or dog, or ducks, or pheasants that give vital interest to a peep into the enchanted woodland. At the same time the factory of Aubusson, and looms in Flanders, were throwing upon the market a quantity of verdures, of which the amateur must beware. Oudry verdures or outdoor scenes are but few in model, and beautifully woven. See larger image BEAUVAIS TAPESTRY. TIME OF LOUIS XIV In the prosperity of Beauvais, ambition carried Oudry into a gay rivalry with the Gobelins. Charles Coypel had gained fame by a set of hangings in which scenes were taken from Don Quixote. Oudry asked himself why he should not rival them at Beauvais. The result was a similar series, but composed by Charles Natoire, the artist who had drawn a set of Antony and Cleopatra for the Gobelins. The same idea extended to the furniture coverings which ran to this design as well as to the Fables. Thus originated a set familiar to those of us nowadays who covet and who buy the rare old bits that the niggard hand of the past accords to the seeker after the ancient. Exquisite indeed are the hangings by the great interpreter of the spirit of his time, François Boucher. His designs broke from the limit of the Gobelins, and were woven at Beauvais with the care and skill required for proper interpretation of his land of mythology. Such flushed skies of light, such clean, soft trees waving against them and such human elegance and beauty grouped beneath, have seldom been reproduced in tapestry, and almost make one wonder if, after all, the weavers of the Eighteenth Century were not right in copying a finished painting rather than in interpreting a decorative cartoon. But such thoughts border on heresy and schism; away with them. Casanova, Leprince, and a host of others are tacked onto the list of artists who painted models. We can no longer call them cartoons, so changed is the mode for Beauvais. But Oudry and Boucher are pre-eminent.

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 117 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 To the former, who was director as well as artist, is attributed the fame of the factory and the resulting commercial success. The factory had a house for selling its wares under the very nose of the Gobelins; had another in the enemy’s country, Leipzig. And kings were the patrons of these, as we know through the royal collections in Italy, and Stockholm, where the King of Sweden was an important collector. It was in 1755 that Beauvais found itself without the support of its leaders. Both Oudry and his partner in business matters, Besnier, had died. And we are well on toward the time when kingly support was a feeble and uncertain quantity. The factory lacked the inspiration and patronage to continue its importance. In a few years more fell the blight of the Revolution. The factory was closed. It re-opened again under new conditions, but its brilliant period was past. Will the conditions recur that can again elevate to its former state of perfection this factory that has given such keen delight, whose ancient works are so prized by the amateur? It has given us thrilling examples of the highly developed taste of tapestry weaving of the Eighteenth Century, it has left us lovable designs in miniature. We repulse the thought that these things are all of the past. The factory still lives. Will not the Twentieth Century see a restoration of its former prestige? If it were only for the reproduction of the sets of furniture of the style known as Louis XVI, the Beauvais loom would have sufficient reason for existing at the present day. Scenes from Don Quixote, however, and the pictured fables of La Fontaine which we see on old chairs, seem to need age to ripen them. These sets, when made new, shown in all the freshness and unsoiled colour, and unworn wool, and unfaded silk do not give pleasure. See larger image BEAUVAIS TAPESTRY

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