Mastering the Fine Art of Tapestry 2012
will commence in two weeks' time and I hope to share the knowledge we acquire along the way and the exciting places we will visit in written and visual form. Travelling from London to Edinburgh, Stirling, Paris, Angers and Aubusson, a European adventure awaits - a discovery of both the historical context and contemporary practice of this uniquely rich, tactile medium.
At the V&A in London we will delight in the panoramic costume drama of the 15th C. Devonshire Hunts and stand in awe of the scale and complexity of the Raphael cartoons for The Acts of the Apostles, the Classical tapestries designed for Pope Leo X in 1515. We will visit the magnificent collection at Hampton Court Palace and the contemporary tapestry artists, William Jefferies and Anna Ray.
In Edinburgh the Dovecot Studios is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a survey of its most masterful work entitled Weaving the Century. And a visit to Stirling Castle will reveal five of the six Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries installed in the Queen's bedroom, an exercise in re weaving the original 15th C. suite by West Dean Studios. We will also visit the studios of contemporary practitioners Linda Green, Fiona Hutchison, Jo Barker and Joanne Soroka.
Paris yields the incomparable La Dame a la Licorne that glows sublimely within the Musee du Moyen Age amidst a trove of Mediaeval treasures, and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs that houses the best of the decorative arts, from Mediaeval to Modern. The Royal Gobelins Workshop is the oldest tapestry manufactory in the world, established under the royal patronage of Louis XIV.
In Angers we will visit the landmark Chateau in which the oldest surviving suite of tapestries from the 14th C. are beautifully displayed. L' Apocalypse illustrates the book of Revelations through the visions of St. John the Divine, a poetic masterpiece of enormous proportions. The heritage 12th C. St. John's Hospital contains Jean Lurcat's modern suite, Le Chant du Monde, his response to the Apocalypse in ten tapestries woven between 1956 and 1966.
The last week of the tour will be spent in Central France in a magnificent manor house, and here I will conduct a workshop in tapestry weaving surrounded by furnishings that date from the Renaissance to Louis XVI, and vintage Aubusson tapestries. We will also make visits to the ateliers and workshops of Aubusson and Felletin under the expert guidance of Susanne Bouret, a conservator of textiles and local resident.
I invite friends and tapestry aficionados alike to join us on this exciting journey!