Information about wall tapestries

Background information about wall tapestries for sale by The Tapestry House – a summary about the weaving of fine European tapestry wall-hangings.

All of our tapestries and wall hangings are Jacquard woven using modern looms based on the original Jacquard looms from the early 19th century. The tapestries are not screen printed – they are individually woven using centuries-old techniques on modern looms. Some of our pieces are licensed from the originals in private collections and museums, not poor quality imitations.

Although modern methods of manufacture speed up the process our wall tapestries still retain the individuality found in all tapestry art. Each piece is individually woven so each tapestry is unique. The techniques used to make our tapestries for sale are the same as craftsmen have used for centuries. Modern equipment has helped speed up the process but the end result is still a unique work of art. They are woven in mills across Europe – from Belgium, France and Italy; many being reproductions of old masters and famous works of art. We do not sell the inferior tapestries woven in China, USA, Egypt or India – no knock-offs or sweatshops!

The designs are machine woven using a combination of yarns usually including cotton, wool and/or viscose. Historically wall hangings were made using natural fibres, generally wool, however today’s combination of yarns adds texture, depth and fine detail to the tapestries whilst retaining their historical look. For example, a tapestry woven in wool and cotton benefits from the fullness provided by the wool and the fine detailing of the cotton. Each weaver has several different qualities of weaves with the simplest way to discern this being directly related to the price.

The unfinished tapestry off-the-loom is then imported to our workroom in Canada where it is individually hand-finished. Finishing involves adding a poly/cotton backing as a lining, with a rod pocket for easy hanging of the tapestry. At the end of this process each piece is individually checked for quality before being prepared for shipping. We enclose instructions to assist you with the easy hanging and care of your tapestry.

Portiere wall-hangings

You may wonder “What is a portière?”. Portiere wall-hangings are defined by Wikipedia as: “A portière is a hanging curtain placed over a door or over the doorless entrance to a room.”

We need to expand on this regarding their use in centuries past and today. Walking through a French chateau or elegant Paris mansion you would see portières hanging on either side of doorways, adding to their grandeur. Several of these portières are available today, all being tall slim French tapestries.

Since the visual characteristic of these is that they are both tall and slim they can be woven tapestries in other styles, not necessarily suitable for an elegant chateau. They may be suitable for a humble home (yours?).

Elegant French portiere wall-hanging Unicorn tapestry - medieval portiere wall hanging Gustav Klimt tall slim tapestry - Silhouette wallhanging William Morris portiere tapestry - portiere wall-hanging

Today portiere wall-hangings are much more adaptable for our homes simply because of the variety of styles. Yes, there are elegant designs but consider these too: medieval tapestries, verdures (ie forested scenes), numerous botanical hangings, even Art Nouveau portières. Several are available as pairs of hanging tapestries; visually a pair is far more than doubly effective than a single tapestry. These pairs might flank a door in the traditional manner but are excellent ways to decorate a large wall (see top image).

My own favourites are the William Morris portieres in their Arts & Crafts splendour. Furthermore, they are unusually varied in sizes and colour tones. Seen on the right above, this one is the medium of three sizes. It is the green and yellow version; you can also order a maroon and brown alternative, also in three sizes.




Tapestries in your home

It is always a pleasure when shipping tapestries to customers in knowing that they are going to make a home more beautiful. How can they fail to do so? With each order we supply suggestions to help with the hanging and care of tapestries. These conclude with the sentence “We would enjoy receiving images of tapestries in your home!”

So you can imagine that we always enjoy receiving such images. Two weeks ago a lady mailed a photograph of a tapestry setting that was especially important to her. Last year her house burnt down and she lost everything. This sad loss included the well-known Elephant tapestry so she was able to replace it from us via insurance and hang it in her replacement home. I hope its presence restored a tiny bit of comfort to her.

Lady with the Unicorn - tapestries in a stairwell

Sitting room tapestry wallhanging

Above are two photos from past customers of medieval and Arts & Crafts tapestries.  The pair of Lady with the Unicorn tapestries are hung on rods with protruding finials whereas The Lady on the right has a hidden rod cut slightly shorter than the tapestry width. We describe this fully in a separate blog post and we enclose hanging information with each order. (All our tapestries are lined and have a rod pocket for easy wall-hanging.)

Landscape tapestries in the home

Above and below are two fine traditional French tapestries, one in a somewhat contemporary setting and one placed above an antique table.

Mandolin tapestry wall-hanging A last example is quite remarkable, well it is to someone living in western Canada. These two details from the Bayeux Tapestry are on display outside in a garden room in Australia. Now that’s my setting for relaxation with a glass of wine!

Bayeux Tapestry display

So … such images are always welcome. Please “invite” us into your house to see the setting in which you are hanging tapestries in your home.