Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Tapestry

Tapestry

  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (region) (made)

  • Date:

    c. 1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tapestry woven in wool and silk

  • Museum number:

    232-1894

  • Gallery location:

    Tapestries, Room 94

This is a fragment from what may have been a much larger tapestry hanging. It is a type know as millefleurs, meaning a thousand flowers. This was a very popular style in the late 15th and early 16th century, and millefleurs were woven in many different centres and workshops in Northern France and Flanders, varying much in quality. They often included small animals and birds among the flowers, like the partridges and cock here, and sometimes featured the owner's coat-of-arms, in which case the animals might be symbolic. The unicorn was associated in legend with chastity and invulnerability, since only a virgin might catch and tame it, and its horn was considered an antidote to poison.

Physical description

Woven tapestry in wool and silk on a woollen warp, depicting unicorn, partridges and a cock seizing a worm, surrounded by flowers.
May be a fragment of a larger tapestry.
14 warp threads to inch.

Place of Origin

Flanders (region) (made)

Date

c. 1500 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Tapestry woven in wool and silk

Dimensions

Height: 183 cm, Width: 212 cm

Descriptive line

Tapestry fragment woven in wool and silk, depicting a unicorn, Flanders, ca.1500

Labels and date

MILLEFLEURS fragment with a UNICORN
Around 1500, tapestries were particularly in demand with grounds covered so closely by different flowering plants that there seemed to be a thousand or more. These 'millefleurs' tapestries, often with small animals and birds among the flowers, sometimes featured the owner's coat-of-arms, in which case the animals might be symbolic. The unicorn was associated in legend with chastity and invulnerability, since only a virgin might catch and tame it, and its horn was considered an antidote to poison.
FLEMISH; early 16th century
Museum number 232-1894 [ca. 2003]

Materials

Wool; Silk

Techniques

Tapestry

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Unicorn

Categories

Tapestry; Wall coverings

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.