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The Art of Tapestry (National Trust Series)

The Art of Tapestry (National Trust Series)

Current price: $60.00
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2023
Philip Wilson Publishers


Extensively illustrated, this is the first accessible publication on the history of tapestry in over two decades.

Woven with dazzling images from history, mythology and the natural world, and breath-taking in their craftsmanship, tapestries were among the most valuable and high-status works of art available in Europe from the medieval period to the end of the eighteenth century. Over 600 historic examples hang in National Trust properties in England and Wales – the largest collection in the UK.

This beautifully illustrated study by tapestry expert Helen Wyld, in association with the National Trust, offers new insights into these works, from the complex themes embedded in their imagery, to long-forgotten practices of sacred significance and ritual use. The range of historical, mythological and pastoral themes that recur across the centuries is explored, while the importance of the 'revival' of tapestry from the late nineteenth century is considered in detail for the first time. Although focussed on the National Trust's collection, this book offers a fresh perspective on the history of tapestry across Europe.

Both the tapestry specialist and the keen art-history enthusiast can find a wealth of information here about woven wall hangings and furnishings, including methods of production, purchase and distribution, evolving techniques and technologies, the changing trends of subject matter across time, and how tapestries have been collected, used and displayed in British country houses across the centuries.

About the Author

Helen Wyld studied history of art at the Courtauld Institute. She spent four years researching the National Trust's tapestry collection, funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and has worked as a curator for the National Trust for Scotland and as Senior Research Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. She is now Senior Curator of Historic Textiles at the National Museum of Scotland, where she is responsible for Scottish and European textiles from the medieval period to 1850.

Praise for The Art of Tapestry (National Trust Series)

“[the book] examines the subject in technical and art historical terms and is profusely illustrated with images that convey the diversity and appeal of these remarkable - and sometimes undervalues - works of art.” —Country Life

“The book will be enlightening for any country-house buff and decorator who wants to know more about the historic tapestries they encounter in English country houses. It will also be an essential reference for historians of English visual culture, providing a fascinating account of the rise and fall and rise again of tapestry as an art form in its own right and as a medium of traditional splendour.” —Tom Campbell, Director of the Fine Art Museum of San Francisco

"This beautifully illustrated book looks at how tapestries were made, how they were used as political tools and how they came into and out of fashion. [...] it’s a fascinating look at an art form that doesn’t get the same attention as paintings." - Tabish Khan, FAD Magazine