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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. 42 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 them in a part of the house where they will be much seen and much protected, on an important wall-space where their figures become the friend of daily life, or the bosky shades of their verdure invite to revery. They are extended flat against the wall, or even framed, that not one stroke of the artist’s pencil or one flash of the weaver’s shuttle be hid. But, many were their uses and grand were their purposes in the days when high-warp and low-warp weaving was the important industry of whole provinces. Palaces and castles were hung with them, but apart from this was the sumptuous use of a reserve of hangings for outdoor fêtes and celebrations of all sorts. These were the great opportunities for all to exhibit their possessions and to make a street look almost as elegant and habitable as the grandest chamber of the king. On the occasion of the entry of a certain queen into Paris, all the way from Porte St. Denis to the Cathedral of Notre Dame was hung with such specimens of the weaver’s art as would make the heart of the modern amateur throb wildly. They were hung from windows, draped across the fronts of the houses, and fluttered their bright colours in the face of an illuminating sun that yet had no power to fade the conscientious work of the craftsman. The high lights of silk in the weave, and the enrichment of gold and silver in the pattern caught and held the sunbeams. In all the cavalcade of mounted knights and ladies, there was the flashing of arms, the gleam of jewelled bridles, the flaunting of rich stuffs, all with a background of unsurpassed blending of colour and texture. The bridge over the Seine leading to Notre Dame, its ramparts were entirely concealed, its asperities softened, by the tapestries which hung over its sides, making the passage over the river like the approach to a throne, the luxury of kings combined with the beauty of the flowing river, the blue sky, the tender green of the trees. Indeed, it was so lovely a sight that the king himself was not content to see it from his honoured but restricted post, but needs must doff his crown—monarchs wore them in those fairy days—and fling a leg over a gentleman’s charger, behind its owner, and thus ride double to see the sights. So great was his eagerness to enjoy all the display that he got a smart reproof from an officer of ceremonies for trespassing.[12] When Louis XI was the young king, and had not yet developed the taste for bloodshed and torture that as a crafty fox he used later to the horror of his nation, he, too, had similar festivals with similar decorations. On one occasion the Pont des Changes was made the chief point in the royal progress through the streets of Paris. The bridge was hung with superb tapestries of great size, from end to end, and the king rode to it on a white charger, his trappings set with turquoise, with a gorgeous canopy supported over his head. Just as he reached the bridge the air became full of the music of singing birds, twenty-five hundred of them at that moment released, and all fluttering, darting, singing amid the gorgeous scene to tickle the fancy of a king.

The Tapestry Book, by Helen Churchill Candee. 43 of 196 03/03/2009 19:16 See larger image DAVID AND BATHSHEBA German Tapestry, about 1450 See larger image FLEMISH TAPESTRY. ABOUT 1500 Collection of Alfred W. Hoyt, Esq. FOOTNOTES: Canon de Haisnes, “La Tapisserie.” M. de Barante, “Histoire des Ducs de Bourgogne.” Froissart, manuscript of the library of Dijon. De Barante, “Histoire.” See M. Pinchart, “Roger van der Weyden et les Tapisseries de Berne.” Enguerrand de Monstrelet, “Chronicles.”

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