Woven with dazzling images from history, mythology and the natural world, and breath-taking in their craftsmanship, tapestries were among the most valuable and high status works of art available in Europe from the medieval period to the end of the eighteenth century. Over 600 historic examples hang in National Trust properties in England and Wales – the largest collection in the UK. The Art of Tapestry offers new insights into these works, from the complex themes embedded in their imagery, to long-forgotten practices of sacred significance and ritual use. The range of historical, mythological and pastoral themes that recur across the centuries is explored, while the importance of the ‘revival’ of tapestry from the late nineteenth century is considered in detail for the first time. Although focussed on the National Trust’s collection, this book offers a fresh perspective on the history of tapestry across Europe.
Helen Wyld is Senior Curator of Historic Textiles at National Museums Scotland, where she is responsible for European dress and textiles from the medieval period to 1850. In this talk Helen will discuss the research behind her book The Art of Tapestry, published by Philip Wilson in association with The National Trust in 2022.
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