Kim Willsher of the Guardian reports on the restoration of the “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries. The 500-year-old tapestries, there are six in all, were produced in Flanders in the 16th c. They depict figures and strange creatures in idyllic garden settings. Some scholars believe that they are a meditation on the five senses, but their true meaning remains a mystery to this day.
A team of restorers spent two years replacing the tapestries’ linings and vacuuming the dust accumulated over the years, since their first exhibition at the Musée National du Moyen Age in Paris, where they had been hung in 1882.
Kim Willsher notes: “Each of the six separate hangings features a slim, blonde woman with a unicorn to her left and a lion to her right. Their exact provenance remains a mystery, though they are believed to have been commissioned by a member of the prosperous and noble Le Viste family in the late 1400s and created from designs, or “cartoons”, drawn in Paris.
The red background of each tapestry is strewn with a rich variety of flowering plants and features pine, orange sessile oak and holly trees, the repeated motif of a coat of arms of three white crescents on a blue background, and animals including numerous rabbits, monkeys and birds.”
Read the complete Guardian article, linked here.