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

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

The

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 148 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 The guild of the tapissiers in Brussels, once started on restrictions, drew article after article, until it seemed that manacles were put on the masters’ hands. To these restrictions the decadence of Brussels is ascribed, but that were like laying a criminal’s fault to the laws of the country. Primarily must have been the desire to shirk, the intent to do questionable work. And behind that must have been a basic cause. Possibly it was one of those which we are apt to consider modern, that is, the desire to turn effort into the coin of the realm. All of the enormous quantity of orders received by Brussels in the days of her highest prosperity could not have been accepted had not the master of the ateliers pressed his underlings to highest speed. Speed meant deterioration in quality of work, and so Brussels tried by laws to prevent this lamentable result, and to protect the fair fame of the symbol woven in the bordering galloon. The other sign which accompanied the town mark, of the two letters B, should have had excellent results, the personal mark of the weaver that his work might be known. In spite of this spur to personal pride, the standard lessened in a few years, but not until certain weavers had won a fame that thrills even at this distance. Unfortunately, a great client was considered as important as a weaver, and it was often his arbitrary sign that was woven. And sometimes a dealer, wishing glory through his dealings, ordered his sign in the galloon. And thus comes a long array of signs which are not identifiable always. In general, one or two initials were introduced into these symbols, which were fanciful designs that any idle pencil might draw, but in the lapse of years it is not possible to know which able weaver or what great purveyor to royalty the letter A or B or C may have signified. Happily the light of Wilhelm de Pannemaker could not be hid even by piling centuries upon it. His works were of such a nature that, like those of Van Aelst, who had no mark, they would always be known for their historic association. In illustration, there is his set of the Conquest of Tunis (plate facing page 62), woven under circumstances of interest. Even without a mark, it would still be known that the master weaver of Brussels (whom all acknowledged Pannemaker to be) set up his looms, so many that it must have seemed to the folk of Granada that a new industry had come to live among them. And it is a matter of Spanish history that the great Emperor Charles V carried in his train the court artist, Van Orley, that his exploits be pictured for the gratification of himself and posterity. But Wilhelm de Pannemaker lived and worked in the time of marks, so his tapestries bear his sign in addition to the Brussels mark. Of symbols he had as many as nine or ten, but all of the same general character, taking as their main motive the W and the P of his name. WILHELM DE PANNEMAKER Incorporated into his sign, as into many others of the period, was a mark resembling a figure 4. Tradition has it that when this four was reversed, the tapestry was not for a private client, but for a dealer. One set of the Vertumnus and Pomona at Madrid (plates facing pages 72, 73, 74, 75) bears De Pannemaker’s mark, while others have a conglomerate pencilling.

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 149 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 The sign of Jacques Geubels is, like W. de Pannemaker’s, made up of his initials combined with fantastic lines which doubtless were full of meaning to their inventor, little as they convey to us. The example of Jacques Geubels’ weaving given in the plate is from the Chicago Institute of Art. His time was late Sixteenth Century. The Acts of the Apostles of Raphael, the first set, was woven by Peter van Aelst without a mark, but the set at Madrid bears the marks of several Brussels weavers, some attributed to Nicolas Leyniers. The desirability of distinguishing tapestries by marks in the galloon appealed to other weaving centres, and the method of Brussels found favour outside that town. Presently Bruges adopted a sign similar to that of her neighbour, by adding to the double B and shield a small b traversed by a crown. JACQUES GEUBELS NICOLAS LEYNIERS BRUGES In Oudenarde, that town of wonderful verdures, the weavers, as though by trick of modesty, often avoided such clues to identity as a woven letter might be, and adopted signs. However significant and famous they may have been in the Sixteenth Century, they mean little now. The town mark with which these were combined was distinctly a striped shield with decoration like antennæ. OUDENARDE Enghien is one of the tapestry towns of which we are gradually becoming aware. Its products have not always been recognised, but of late more interest is taken in this tributary to the great stream of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. The famous Peter or Pierre van Aelst, selected from all of Flanders’ able craftsmen to work for Raphael and the Pope, was born in this little town, wove here and, more yet, was known as Pierre of Enghien. Yet it is the larger town of Brussels which wore his laurels. ENGHIEN

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