TheTapestryBook, byHelen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 38 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image THE LADY AND THE UNICORN French Tapestry, Fifteenth Century. Musée de Cluny, Paris See larger image THE LADY AND THE UNICORN French Tapestry, Fifteenth Century. Musée de
TheTapestryBook, byHelen Churchill Candee. http://www.justdogstrollers.com/26151-h/26151-h/26151-h.htm 39 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 Cluny, Paris As the early worker in wools could not forget the beauties of earth, the foreground of many Gothic tapestries is sprinkled with the loved common flowers of every day, of the field and wood. This is one of the charming touches in early tapestry, these little flowers that thrust themselves with captivating inappropriateness into every sort of scene. The grave and awesome figures in the Apocalypse find them at their feet, and in scenes of battle they adorn the sanguinary sod and twinkle between fierce combatants. Occasionally a weaver goes mad about them and refuses to produce anything else but lily-bells newly sprung in June, cowslips and daisies pied, rosemary and rue, and all these in decorous courtesy on a deep, dark background like twilight on a bank or moonlight in a dell—and lo, we have the marvellous bit of nature-painting called millefleurs. A Burgundian tapestry that has come to this country to add to our increasing riches, is the large hanging known as The Sack of Jerusalem. (Plate facing page 46.) Almost more than any other it revivifies the ancient times of Philip the Hardy, John without Fear, and Charles the Bold, when these dukes, who were monarchs in all but name, were leading lives that make our own Twentieth Century fretting seem but the unrest of aspens. Such hangings as this, The Sack of Jerusalem, were those that the great Burgundian dukes had hung about their tents in battle, their castles in peace, their façades and bridges in fêtes. The subject chosen hints religion, but shouts bloodshed and battle. Those who like to feel the texture of old tapestries would find this soft and pliable, and in wondrous state of preservation. Its colours are warm and fresh, adhering to red-browns and brown-reds and a general mellow tone differing from the sharp stained-glass contrasts noticed in The Sacraments. Costumes show a naïve compromise between those the artist knew in his own time and those he guessed to appertain to the year of our Lord 70, when the scene depicted was actually occurring. The tapestry resembles in many ways the famous tapestries of the Duke of Devonshire which are known as the Hardwick Hall tapestries. In drawing it is similar, in massing, in the placing of spots of interest. This large hanging is a part of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibits a primitive hanging which is probably woven in France, Northern France, at the end of the Fifteenth Century. (Plate facing page 40.) It represents, in two panels, the power of the church to drive out demons and to confound the heathen. Fault can be found with its crudity of drawing and weave, but tapestries of this epoch can hold a position of interest in spite of faults.