Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


We overlook tapestry. We don't think of it as art. Even in Hampton Court- where they really should know better- they put candelabra in front of it so you can't see the pictures properly. They wouldn't do that to their Rembrandt- or one of their Caravaggio's- but tapestry- it's just wallpaper, innit!

These are details from a pair of tapestries in  the Great Watching Chamber at Hampton Court. They belonged to Henry VIII and probably to Cardinal Wolsey before him (I have a soft spot for Wolsey.) I spent a long time trying to work out the iconography and I think one of them represents the Triumph of the Virtues (fierce women with swords) and the other the Apotheosis of The Three Graces. There were no notes to hand to help me (there should have been) and I've not been able to find anything online either- so this is just an educated guess.  I think they're tremendous. Just look at the faces. These are real people, beautifully observed,  wonderfully alive. And to think it's all been done not with paint but on a loom!

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