Dating back to ancient Egypt, tapestries have been used for millennia to tell stories through the art form of weaving. In the 11th century, Paris became the center of production but because of the Hundred Years War, many weavers soon relocated to Holland and Belgium.
As political unrest and upheaval plagued Europe, weavers were forced to move frequently and production continued in small ateliers throughout the continent. These early hand-loomed masterpieces were primarily commissioned by either nobility or the church and generally featured Biblical scenes or that of war. Tapestries served a functional purpose as well and were often used as insulation.
The design was usually painted by an artist and juxtaposed to the back of the tapestry so the weaver could follow the color and pattern. Many tapestries evolved into works of art where weavers would display intricate details and tonal effects to rival paintings of the time.
With the rise of the merchant class a more generic type of tapestry began to emerge. The style, known as verdure, comes from “vert,” the French word for green. These tapestries often depicted lush forests or hunting scenes with beautiful foliage.
“Verdure fragments as well as floral borders are my most common finds… I love architectural fragments, figures and animals. But I also love the greens and blues of the verdure. Adding a verdure tapestry pillow to a room is like bringing in a plant you don’t have to water.” (Once Upon A Pillow, 2015)
As technologies advanced in the 19th century, hand weavers were replaced by automated processes. Brussels became known for its factories which produced many large-scale high-quality pieces.
Explore our selection of antique tapestries and fragments. (LINK)
Shop tapestry & needlepoint pillows. (LINK)