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The arrival of The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry cycle at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from February 10 presents a rare opportunity to.
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Was there depth created? Was the plane flat? When was there depth and when were objects not in perspective?

The Lady and the Unicorn

The first restoration was done in in which they just filled in holes. The second restoration followed in where repairs to some of the millefleur grounds were done. In , a master tapestry maker at the Gobelins restored the lower parts.

How to See the Unicorn Tapestries in New York, Paris, and Scotland

This is the recognizable parts discussed below. In , another restoration was done. Since then the tapestries have been maintained and in they were washed. Interestingly, the museum had them hung in a circular room on curved walls and this allowed lots of dust to accumulate on them due to the way the air moved in the room.

The museum has since built a square room for the tapestries. The tapestries are now held on slightly inclined walls to help support their weight. The dyes used were natural of course. Synthetic dyes did not exist in I had several interesting conversations with my fellow observers about the dyes. Perhaps—seems the most likely. The blue is certainly woad or indigo. Later study did tell us that the red is madder and the blue indigo.

The greens and yellows have mostly faded to brown leaving us with the feeling that the tapestry is all blue and red. I am sure this was not true and undoubtedly if we saw the works as they looked freshly off the loom, they would have been stunningly vibrant. The fading was due to the yellow dyes not being stable. Some of the green is left in the foliage, but it has turned bluish without its yellow.

The tapestries are woven in wool and silk.

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The bottom of each of the tapestries had rotted away at some point and were re-woven just after they came to the Cluny This was abundantly clear as the bottom portion was dyed with synthetic dyes which have since faded while the reds of the original tapestry have remained more vibrant in the late s—synthetic dyes are much better today. The tapestries were stored poorly in the mids and the ends of all of them got damp and were chewed by rats. In the restoration, natural dyes were used to match the original wools.


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The image below is a detail from the bottom left corner of Taste. You can clearly see where the restoration was done with synthetic dyed wool. This cycle of tapestries is extremely popular, as tapestries go. When I started digging, I found that these tapestries have captured the imagination of many people over the centuries and there has been a lot written about them.

The cycle traveled to New South Wales in which is where Cresside Collette last viewed them before our trip and THIS article talks more about the symbolism of the works. It is interesting to note that when the tapestries were flown to Australia only one of three times they have left the Cluny since , they each flew on a separate plane.

Further reading could take you HERE or to this beautiful video of poets responding to the tapestries. THIS video talks more about the mythology of the unicorn. And if you have about an hour, listen to art historian and author of the book I purchased at the Museum, Elizabeth Taburet-Dalahaye , discuss the restoration of the tapestries. This talk was given in in Melbourne at the 40th anniversary of the Australian Tapestry Workshop.