Devonshire Swans - Repeat
The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries are believed to have been made between 1430-1450, in Arras, France. They are typical of tapestries of the Middle Ages, though very few tapestries of this scale and quality of design have survived. The V&A acquired these tapestries from the estate of the Duke of Devonshire.
It is thought that these tapestries belonged to the celebrated Countess of Shrewsbury, known as “Bess of Hardwick” and were probably from Hardwick Hall, one of her houses in Derbyshire.
The hunt was a particularly powerful theme and would have been a familiar pastime as well as an important source of food to the families who owned such tapestries. Henry VIII was known to have owned over 200 tapestries illustrating hawking and hunting scenes.
The Devonshire Swans depicts both Otters and Swans. Otters were hunted not to eat but for their skins and because they ate the fish that were needed for the table. Swan meat, however, was highly desirable and here boys are seen robbing a swan’s nest. At one time, swans could be owned only by the royal family but as they gradually escaped into the wild they became fair game for other people, although theoretically they could only be hunted by licence. A ferocious bear hunt is seen on the right with oriental figures wearing turbans.
The Devonshire Swans has been developed into a repeat pattern.
Available in: Hemlock Blue Clay on Canvas Non-Woven Wallpaper
Image: Devonshire Swans - Repeat Wallpaper, Hemlock Blue Clay