TheTapestryBook, byHelen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 28 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 works. In the cathedral at Angers hangs a tapestry executed by him; it is a part of the Apocalypse (favourite subject) drawn by Dourdin, who was artist of the cartoons as well as artist to Charles V. In those days the weaver occupied much the same place in relation to the cartoonist as the etcher does now to the painter. That is to say, that because the drawing was his inspiration, the weaver was none the less an artist of originality and talent. These celebrated hangings at Angers, although commenced in 1376 for Louis of Anjou, were not completed in all the series until 1490, therefore Bataille’s work was on the first ones, finished on Christmas, 1379. The design includes imposing figures, each seated on a Gothic throne reading and meditating. The larger scenes are topped with charming figures of angels in primitive skies of the “twisted ribbon” style of cloud, angels whose duty and whose joy is to trump eternally and float in defiance of natural laws of gravitation. The museum at the Gobelins factory in Paris shows to wondering eyes the other authentic example of late Fourteenth Century high-warp tapestry, as woven in the early Paris workshops. It portrays with a lovely naïve simplicity The Presentation in the Temple. This with the pieces of the Apocalypse at Angers are all that are positively known to have come from the Paris workshops of the late Fourteenth Century. History steps in with an event that crushed the industry in Paris. Just when design and execution were at their highest excellence, and production was prolific, political events began to annihilate the trade. The English King, Henry V, crossed the Channel and occupied Paris in 1422. Thus, under the oppression of the invaders, the art of tapestry was discouraged and fell by the way, not to rise lustily again in Paris for two hundred years. Eugene Müntz, “La Tapisserie.” FOOTNOTES: For extensive reading see Guiffrey, “Nicolas Bataille, tapissier parisien,” and “L’Histoire General de la Tapisserie,” the section called “Les Tapisseries Francaises.” W CHAPTER IV FIFTEENTH CENTURY IN FRANCE AND FLANDERS HETHER Arras began as early as Paris is a question better left unsettled if only for the sake of furnishing a subject of happy controversy between the champions of the two opinions. But certain it is that with fewer distractions to disturb her craftsmen, and under the stimulus of certain ducal and royal patrons, Arras succeeded in advancing the art more than did her celebrated neighbour. It was Arras, too, that gave the name to the fabric, a name which appears in England as arras and in
TheTapestryBook, byHelen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 29 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 Italy as arazzo, as though there was no other parent-region for the much-needed and much-prized stuffs than the busy Flemish town. Among the early records is found proof that in 1311, a countess of the province of Artois, of which Arras was the capital, bought a figured cloth in that city, and two years later ordered various works in high warp. It is she who became ruler of the province. To patronise the busy town of her own domains, Arras, she ordered from there the hangings that were its specialty. Paris also shared her patronage. She took as husband Otho, Count of Burgundy, and set his great family the fashion in the way of patronising the tapestry looms. It was in the time of Charles V of France, that the Burgundian duke Philip, called the Hardy, began to patronise conspicuously the Arras factories. In 1393, as de Barante delightfully chronicles, the gorgeous equipments of this duke were more than amazing when he went to arrange peace with the English at Lelingien. The town chosen for the pourparlers, wherein assembled the English dukes, Lancaster and Gloucester and their attendants, as well as the cortége attending the Duke of Burgundy, was a poor little village ruined by wars. The conferences were held by these superb old fighters and statesmen in an ancient thatched chapel. To make it presentable and worthy of the nobles, it was covered with tapestries which entirely hid the ruined walls. The subject of the superb pieces was a series of battles, which made the Duke of Lancaster whimsically critical of a subject ill-chosen for a peace conference, he suggesting that it were better to have represented “la Passion de notre Seigneur.” Not satisfied with having the meeting place a gorgeous and luxurious temple, this Philip, Duke of Burgundy, demonstrated his magnificence in his own tent, which was made of wooden planks entirely covered with “toiles peintes” (authorities state that tapestries with personages were thus described), and was in form of a château flanked with towers. As a means of pleasing the English dukes and the principal envoys, Philip gave to them superb gifts of tapestries, the beautiful tapestries of Flanders such as were made only in the territory of the duke. It is interesting to note this authentic account of the importation of certain Arras tapestries into England. Subjects at this time introduced, besides Bible people, figures of Clovis and of Charlemagne. Two hangings represented, the one The Seven Cardinal Vices, with their conspicuous royal exponents in the shape of seven vicious kings and emperors; the other, The Seven Cardinal Virtues, with the royalties who had been their notable exponents. Here is a frank criticism on the lives of kings which smacks of latter-day democracy. All these tapestries were enriched with gold of Cyprus, as gold threads were called. This same magnificent Philip the Hardy, had other treaties to make later on, and seeing how much his tapestries were appreciated, continued to make presents of them. One time it was the Duke of Brittany who had to be propitiated, all in the interests of peace, peace being a quality much sought and but little experienced at this time in France. Perhaps this especial Burgundian duke had a bit of self-interest in his desire for amity with the English, for he was lord of the Comité of Artois (including Arras) and this was a district which, because of its heavy commerce with England, might favour that country. A large part of that commerce was wool for tapestry weaving, wool which came from the prés salés of Kent, where to-day are seen the same meadows, salt with ocean spray and breezes, whereon flocks are grazing now as of old—but this time more for mutton chops than for tapestry wools.