Antique Tapestry

The XVIIIth and XIXth centuries witnessed an extraordinary development of tapestry which became a very fashionable decorative object. Their manufacture was based on many talents: weavers, painters cartonniers, …

Tapestry is a fabric made on a loom or by hand, whose weave represents ornamental patterns. The weave consists of two sets of interwoven threads, those parallel to the length, the warp threads, and those parallel to the width, the weft threads. The warp threads are placed under tension on a loom, and the weft thread is transmitted by a mechanical back-and-forth movement over all or part of the work. Often the tapestry is a decorative textile realization of furnishing, being classified in the decorative arts. The wall hanging of a room can be constituted of only one or of a whole of tapestries.

Flanders tapestries: Enghien tapestry, Brussels, Oudenaarde

In the 16th century, Flanders became the main focus of European tapestry production with the cities of Oudenaarde, Brussels, Grammont and Enghien. Many examples from this era demonstrate the intricate detail of patterns and colours.

Tapestries from La Marche, Felletin, and Aubusson, ...

The Aubusson tapestry has six centuries of history: from the “greenery” of the 15th century to its rebirth in the 20th century under the influence of Jean Lurçat (1892-1966)

In 2009, UNESCO inscribed “The Aubusson tapestry” on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. After this know-how was included in the inventory of intangible cultural heritage in France.

The Different Inspirations

As the tapestries are most often intended for places of life, the most frequent themes include:


Greenery characterizes the Marchoise tapestry. It is an embodiment of Aubusson tapestry.

Their decor is mainly vegetal (trees, foliage). Animals, common, exotic, or fantastic, can populate this decor: birds and forest animals. The characters and constructions are absent and can occupy a marginal place.

Hunting Scenes

The hunting scenes, despite the significant plant decor, do not fall into the category of greenery. They represent characters in sober tones, often riders, helped by dogs, struggling with various animals: unicorns, wolves, lions, wild boars, and deer hunting….

Religious Scenes

The Marchois workshops also found inspiration in religion (the lives of saints, the Old Testament) and mythology or even in historical subjects.