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.

How to hang a tapestry

Every order shipped by The Tapestry House includes a sheet with information about how to hang a tapestry. This also discusses its simple care. Here are those notes:-

These practical points will help you care for your tapestry wall-hanging.
1.      There may be transit creases on your tapestry when you receive it. These can be removed easily by careful pressing with a steam iron on the rear side.
2.      Tapestries are woven individually and part of their individuality is that there may be irregularities in the weave or there may be hanging undulations. You can attach weights to the lower lining if desired but this is not necessary. Do not expect them to be precisely square and flat like a framed print; this is not their character.
3.      There are two ways to hang tapestries (our finishing has a rod pocket on the lining):
–         a) cut a length of round wooden dowel slightly longer than the rod pocket. Insert a small closed cup-hook into each end and simply place them over small picture hook nails. This is quick, easy and inexpensive. (See first and second images below.)
–         b) buy a metal or wooden rod with finials (decorative ends) from a  local drapery, hardware or interiors store. Use the brackets to hang the tapestry ‘off’ the wall, or hang the rod over two nails hammered down at a 45 degree angle to mount flush. (see bottom image.)
Refer to our Display Gallery for examples of tapestries hanging in homes.
4.      To aid colour co-ordination – add a pair of cords with tassels to either side if you wish to match the tapestry to the existing décor. This is particularly useful when the colour of the tapestry does not exactly match the surrounding decor. You “draw out” one of the colours in the tapestry, even a minor one, to “tie it in” to its surroundings.
5.      An annual brushing with a soft brush is sufficient to dust your tapestry – or use the drapes attachment of your vacuum cleaner. The tapestry may be dry cleaned with care if a stain somehow occurs but we suggest this be a last resort.

Our tapestries are hand-finished. We would enjoy receiving images of your tapestry in its new home!

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Let’s expand this a little. We receive enquiries occasionally about how to hang a tapestry; it’s easier than people think. Below is the back of a tapestry showing how the rod pocket is indented enough to hide the wooden dowel with eye hook from view. Next you can see the tapestry hanging on the wall in this “invisible” hanging manner.

How to hang a tapestry - rear view A tapestry hanging - front viewAs you can see, it need not involve the purchase of special designer rods. Alternatively, as below, you can use metal or wooden rods which have a decorative finial extending beyond the tapestry. Do note the option described above of hanging cords with tassels from these.

Hanging a tapestry with a decorative rodDo contact us if you have any remaining questions about how to hang a tapestry. We have added a page to our website about hanging tapestries, for your further reference.



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.