Of the artists working in tapestry today, Helena Hernmarck stands without peer. Her work, selected for scores of fine public spaces is seen each year by millions of viewers. For them, these pieces often become the focus and persona of familiar places. That the work seems to belong in place is not an accident: rather, it has “grown” there. The artist adapted her artistic intent to the requirements of the architecture of the space and the nature of the client.

Almost always derived from a local environment, her themes encapsulate the great outdoors—in heroic scale. Her work has withstood the test of time; that is, better than almost all the art fabrics created in the last half century, hers have fared better in aging gracefully. This body of work has the advantage of traditional tapestry hangings, of installing, storing and cleaning easily. But they are not conventional tapestries drawn by artists and executed by artisans. These are modern works with such expression of structure and materials to compensate for spaces perhaps insufficient in these soul-satisfying qualities.

She triumphs over limitations to create an art form that goes beyond craft without losing its durable virtues.

—Jack Lenor Larson



7. High Meadow

“High Meadow” – 53″ x 106″

My early work was firmly rooted in the Swedish tradition and the Scandinavian design aesthetic remains a strong influence to this day. However, when I moved to this country some thirty years ago, I was deeply moved by the astonishing profusion of natural beauty in the mountains and forests of the Eastern U.S. and this influence may be perceived in the use of an increasingly vibrant range of colors used in my work and the evolution to increasingly large size scales. Many of my recent tapestries explore the relationships between a vivid and diverse Nature and the ordered perspectives and more symmetrical forms of Man’s cities and towns: this juxtaposition creates a feeling of intense life and energy. I am constantly striving to uplift the spirit and to infuse my work with a joyful imagery; the healing power of Nature can be sensed in my frequent use of the profusion of trees, plants and flowers and in the exuberant flight of birds. Many of my tapestries are woven for clients who bring, to varying degrees, their own concepts of theme, space and color and I find this confluence of ideas, inspiration, and personal interaction immensely rewarding. When I design and weave for a client, the tapestry ultimately represents my own design imperative – to ensure that the final tapestry fulfills the client’s expectations for a work of enduring beauty and worth. From my personal perspective, weaving a tapestry draws on many parts of my being; the artists imagination, the weaver’s skill and the human ability to create.

Ulrika Leander

Contemporary Tapestry Weaving

Art consultant

What is an Art Consultant?

An art consultant is a person who consults individuals or businesses about which pieces of art they should acquire. This advice may be used for a wide range of purposes, from building a personal collection for enjoyment, to designing an art program for a chain of hotels, to building an investment portfolio. Fine art is considered a relatively stable long-term investment, if properly handled, and so many individuals or businesses with money to invest turn to it in times of economic turmoil.

Wealthy individuals often turn to an art consultant when purchasing a new house, or redecorating an existing house, to help them get the art on the walls that they most want. The art world is in constant flux, and keeping track of which pieces are for sale, and what new artists are hot, is a full time job. A skilled art consultant will meet with a client and get a feel for their likes and dislikes, take down their budget, and note any specific pieces the client is looking for. They will then help track down the desired pieces at auction, and recommend new or unexpected artists to help fill out the collection. Rates for consultants vary widely, depending on expertise, overall budget, and the size of the desired collection.

Businesses are also often in need of art for their locations, and they may hire a freelance art consultant, or may have an in-house art consultant. These consultants are responsible for keeping a cohesive feel throughout the business’ many properties, staying within budget while reflecting the feel of the company. Hotels, for example, may use a number of art consultants to design a comprehensive art program for their chain, either with similar art throughout, or with regionally-appropriate art.

Finally, an art consultant may serve principally as an investment adviser to individual or corporate clients. In this case, the consultant is expected to have a very comprehensive understanding of trends in the art world, including which new artists are rising stars, which artists are undervalued, and where large risks may be taken for potentially large gains. These consultants work hand in hand with clients to diversify an art portfolio at auction, or through private sales to reach the level of risk-to-gain they desire.

Most art consultants have at least an undergraduate degree in Art History, or a similar major, and many have advanced degrees. Many art consultants have worked in some professional capacity in the art world before becoming independent consultants, often working at large auction houses, or in galleries. A number of large art consulting firms exist, as well, employing tens or hundreds of employees in order to cover various specialties for clients.

Hand-woven tapestry


The Traditions of Swedish Hand-Woven Tapestry

Sweden has one of the longest unbroken and richly indigenous tapestry weave traditions in Europe. Hand weaving in Sweden, although having to struggle along with much of the rest of Europe, against competition from industrial looms, was always seen as part of the rich rural heritage of Sweden. It was particularly favoured for domestic use and young girls were taught from an early age to be proficient in the craft.

With the founding of the Handarbetets Vanner, or Friends of Handicraft in 1874 by Sophie Adlersparre, Molly Rohtlieb, and Hanna Mathilda Winge, three Swedish women who did much to integrate the old traditions of Swedish hand weaving and tapestry into the burgeoning interest shown largely by urban dwellers in fast disappearing rural crafts, through the Arts and Crafts movement.

It was seen by many that if a number of the traditional crafts were not encouraged, they would be lost forever. This was often problematic as many rural workers were drifting towards urban centres across Europe, as cities became a magnet for the ambitions of rural populations who were often disinclined to take up the labour intensive and badly paid traditional craft skills. Sweden, in the respect of rural crafts, was luckier than some of the more populous and intensely industrial countries in Western Europe. By the end of the nineteenth century, Sweden still had a relatively large rural community with few big industrial towns. However, it was still seen that the rural traditions that the Arts and Crafts movement supported and felt were vital to the integrity and future of the various different indigenous cultures of Europe, needed particular support and encouragement.

All of the pieces shown here were produced in the very first few years of the twentieth century. They give a taster as to what was expected from a revival of hand weaving in Sweden, much of it produced, in the Arts and Crafts tradition on an amateur basis. They were based on traditional design work and represent what was seen and felt to be the typical style and interests of rural Sweden. Two of the examples shown here have weddings as their theme, while the other carries on the long running Scandinavian theme of abstract flat pattern work.

It is the interest in both the traditions of Sweden and its rural culture, but also that of the weaving tradition itself, which has kept hand weaving alive within Sweden. This has allowed a whole raft of individuals from professionals who used both hand and industrial weaving techniques, to the strictly hand weaving of the amateur. All have helped to produce and inspire work that has continued that tradition across the twentieth and into the twenty first century.

John Hopper



The word tapestry is now widely used to describe a range of textiles, including needlepoint and certain mechanically woven, ribbed fabrics, but historically and technically it designates a figurative weft-faced textile woven by hand on a loom. In European practice, the loom consists of two rollers, between which plain warp threads (the load-bearing threads) are stretched. In the large-scale production of centers in France and the Low Countries (modern-day Belgium), the warps were made of wool, although linen was also used in more artisanal production in Germany. Depending on the orientation of the loom, the warps are stretched vertically on a high-warp loom or horizontally on a low-warp loom; in both cases, the weaver works on the reverse side of the tapestry. The warps are arranged so there is a small space between the even and odd warps, called the shed, through which the weaver passes the colored weft threads that are wrapped around a handheld shuttle. Alternate warps are attached to drawstrings with which the weaver can pull them forward (on the high-warp loom) or backward (on the low-warp loom) to create a second shed, through which the weft is then passed back again. By passing the weft back and forth through the two sheds, the weaver inserts the weft over one warp and under the next in one direction and then back in the opposite direction over and under the alternate warps. Periodically, the weaver beats down the developing web so that the warps are completely covered by the weft.

In European medieval and Renaissance practice, the design was invariably copied from a full-scale colored pattern, known as the cartoon, a practice that continues to this day.

Nowadays, the weft threads are primarily made of finely twisted wool, but in the past, finer tapestries also included silk and gilt-metal-wrapped silk. By varying the colors of the weft, the weaver creates a pattern or figurative image. Between 1400 and 1530, Flemish weavers developed the ability to reproduce an extraordinary range of surface textures and painterly effects through the use of finer and finer interlocking triangles of color (hatchings or hachures), the juxtaposition of different materials, and the use of different techniques to link the weft threads.
In European medieval and Renaissance practice, the design was invariably copied from a full-scale colored pattern, known as the cartoon, a practice that continues to this day. Before starting work, the weaver traces the pattern from the cartoon onto the bare warps. With the high-warp loom, the cartoon is then hung behind the weaver; with the low-warp loom, it was traditionally folded or cut into strips and placed directly beneath the warp threads, creating a proximity that is especially useful for the weaver in the case of complex designs. An additional advantage of the low-warp loom is that the drawstrings used by the weaver to create the sheds are controlled by foot pedals, leaving the weaver’s hands free to pass the weft. On the high-warp loom, the drawstrings are manipulated by hand so the process is slower. The disadvantage of the low-warp technique is that it reverses the orientation of the cartoon, since the weaver is copying the front of the cartoon from the back of the tapestry. The designer therefore needs to create the cartoon to be used for the low-warp technique in the direction opposite to the one intended for the completed tapestry. There is otherwise little physical distinction between the product of the high- and low-warp looms. The low-warp technique was the predominant mode of production through the medieval and Renaissance period because of the advantages it offered in terms of speed of production and reproduction of complex designs.
The quality of a tapestry depends mainly on four variable factors: the quality of the cartoon from which it is copied: the skill of the weavers at translating the design into woven form; the fineness of the weave (the number of warps per centimeter and the grade of the weft, which directly affect the precision of detail and pictorial quality of the tapestry); and the quality of the materials from which it is made. In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the cost of a tapestry varied enormously in direct proportion to its quality. One of the key factors was the manpower involved. Production was a labor-intensive process requiring the participation of many skilled weavers for the execution of large tapestries. On the basis of both modern practice and documented production, it is generally estimated that weavers could produce up to one square yard of coarse tapestry per month. Higher-quality production, with a finer warp and weft count, was much slower, yielding perhaps half a square yard or less per month. A large tapestry, five yards high by eight yards wide, woven in wool alone, with a warp count of approximately fifteen per inch, would have taken five weavers some eight months or so to weave. If finer materials were used, resulting in a higher warp count, it could take much longer. Production of a set of six five-by-eight-yard tapestries would therefore have necessitated the equivalent of thirty weavers over a period of between eight and sixteen months, excluding the cost and time involved in the design and preparation of the cartoons and the setting up of the looms.
An even more significant factor than labor in determining the cost of a tapestry was the material from which it was made. Wool, generally from England or Spain, was the principal material used for warps and most of the weft. Finer-quality pieces also incorporated silk (from Italy or Spain), and the finest included silver- and gilt-metal-wrapped silk thread (from Venice or Cyprus). Documents relating to the levy charged for different grades of tapestry imported to England during the first half of the sixteenth century indicate that tapestry woven with silk cost four times more than that woven with coarse wool. The inclusion of metallic thread increased the cost by a factor of twenty over tapestry woven with coarse wool alone. While such valuations are general and the prices would have been dependent on the circumstances in which tapestries were made and sold, documentary evidence confirms the extreme variation of price.

Thomas P. Campbell Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tapestry art


Modern homemakers are taking their cues from 16th century abodes. In the medieval age, when straw was spread on the ground to trap the dirt and mud, tapestries were considered too fine to stay on the floor and they were hung on walls and in doorways to help insulate drafty stone buildings. Today, hanging rugs and tapestries are popping up on walls as beautiful works of art.

Hand-woven tapestry


Two techniques exist in weaving tapestries by hand: High warp work (haute-lisse) and low warp (basse-lisse) work.
The high warp loom is composed of two pillars supporting two mobile cylinders (rollers), the first one placed in the higher part, and the other in the lower part. Weaving is thus made vertically. With the low warp loom the warp is stretched on a horizontal plan, thus weaving is made horizontally.
These two techniques are radically different. However, once the tapestry is completed, the result is the same. The front and back surfaces are almost alike. On the back, you can see loose threads that were used to connect parts with the same color. Often wool is chosen to weave by hand.



Scandinavian art and architecture

Sculpture by Carl Milles

Sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Milles.

Early History

The Scandinavian countries are rich in artifacts and objects of archaeological interest dating from the end of the Ice Age through the Bronze Age, the Celtic and Germanic Iron Ages, and the Viking period. Viking art (c.800—c.1050) is characterized by dynamic geometric design of considerable complexity and sophistication and the ingenious use of animal forms. It bears a clear relationship to other European trends, particularly to Hiberno-Saxon illumination. Numerous fine examples of early Scandinavian art are in the collections of the museums of Copenhagen and Stockholm.

The Early Christian Period

Church building became the principal artistic activity when Scandinavia was Christianized in the 11th cent. The wooden stavkirke, a medieval church decorated with grotesque figures, is unique to this region; examples remain only in Norway, where it was most prevalent. The cathedral at Lund, Sweden, begun in 1085, reveals Lombard influence; Gothic elements predominate in the cathedrals of Linköping and Skara. The island of Gotland produced numerous sculptural and architectural masterworks of the Gothic period. The cathedral at Trondheim, begun in the 12th cent., bears a resemblance to English Gothic architecture, particularly to Lincoln Cathedral. Uppsala Cathedral was built by French architects.

The Renaissance and Baroque Period

Foreign stylistic influence persisted through the Renaissance and baroque periods, the North German school of Lübeck becoming more and more the chief source for Scandinavian styles. Castles such as Gripsholm exemplify this borrowing habit. Great castle-building activity was instigated by the Danish and Swedish rulers of the 16th to 18th cent.; outstanding examples include Kronborg (c.1570—1590) and Fredriksborg (c.1560—1620) castles and the rebuilt castle of Stockholm (1690—1708; 1727—53).

The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

In the 18th and 19th cent. native artists began to gain international prestige. From Denmark the neoclassicist sculptor A. B. Thorvaldsen taught and worked in Rome, wielding enormous stylistic influence. The painters Christoffer Eckersberg and N. A. Abildgaard were prominent, as were the architects C. F. Harsdorff and C. E. Hansen. The academy of Copenhagen attracted students from Germany, including the painters P. O. Runge and C. D. Friedrich.

Norway produced its best-known artists late in the 19th cent.–most notably the sculptors Stephan Sinding and A. G. Vigeland and the protoexpressionist painter Edvard Munch. Significant Swedish artists included the sculptor J. T. Sergel and, in the late 19th and early 20th cent., the painters A. L. Zorn and Carl Larsson.

The Twentieth Century

The Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, who worked extensively in the United States, was among the most notable Scandinavian artists of the early part of the century. Since World War II various strains of abstraction have been developed by a number of Scandinavian artists.

The inventive use of traditional and regional forms within the plain vocabulary of brick construction led to a rejuvenation of Scandinavian architecture in the early 20th cent. with the works of P. V. J. Klint of Denmark and Ragnar Ostberg, Sigfrid Ericsson, and, above all, E. G. Asplund of Sweden. The Finnish architects Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto influenced Scandinavian design profoundly and have international acclaim for establishing an unquestionably new architecture. Modern Scandinavian furniture and applied arts, particularly glassmaking, metalwork, woodwork, and ceramics, have been widely imitated for their simplicity and purity of line.


imagesCAE27ITP Famous

List of famous tapestries;

The Apocalypse Tapestry in the Château d’Angers, in Angers.

Tapestry with monogram “SA” of King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland, Brussels, c. 1555. Part of famous Jagiellonian Tapestries, also known as the Wawel Tapestries or Wawel Arrases.

Tapestry of Christ in Glory, 1962, Coventry Cathedral, 75.5 feet high, designed by Graham Sutherland and woven by Pinton Frères (fr), Felletin, France. The Trojan War tapestry referred to by Homer in Book III of the Iliad, where Iris disguises herself as Laodice and finds Helen “working at a great web of purple linen, on which she was embroidering the battles between Trojans and Achaeans, that Ares had made them fight for her sake.” If such a tapestry had been made at the time, then it could explain how the battles were remembered in such great detail over the 400 or so years between the siege of Troy and the age of Homer.
The Cloth of St Gereon – oldest European tapestry still extant.
The Sampul tapestry, woollen wall hanging, 3rd–2nd century BC, Sampul, Ürümqi Xinjiang Museum.
The Hestia Tapestry, 6th century, Egypt, Dumbarton Oaks Collection.
The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth — not an actual tapestry — nearly 70 metres (230 ft) long, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, likely made in England — not Bayeux — in the 1070s
The Apocalypse Tapestry is the longest tapestry in the world, and depicts scenes from the Book of Revelation. It was woven between 1373 and 1382. Originally 140 m (459 ft), the surviving 100m are displayed in the Château d’Angers, in Angers.
The six-part piece La Dame à la Licorne (The Lady and the Unicorn), stored in l’Hôtel de Cluny, Paris.
The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, four Flemish tapestries dating from the mid-fifteenth century depict men and women in fashionable dress of the early fifteenth century hunting in a forest. The tapestries formerly belonged to the Duke of Devonshire and are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Hunt of the Unicorn is a seven piece tapestry from 1495 to 1505, currently displayed at The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The tapestries for the Sistine Chapel, designed by Raphael in 1515–16, for which the Raphael Cartoons, or painted designs, also survive.
The Wawel Tapestries, (mid 16th century) a collection of 134 tapestries at the Wawel Castle in Kraków, Poland displaying various religious, natural, and royal themes. These famous tapestries, created in Arras, were collected by Polish Kings Sigismund I the Old and Sigismund II Augustus.
The Valois Tapestries are a cycle of 8 hangings depicting royal festivities in France in the 1560s and 1570s
The New World Tapestry is a 267 feet long tapestry which depicts the colonisation of the Americas between 1583 and 1648, displayed at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum; this is not (strictly speaking) a tapestry, but is instead embroidery.
The biggest collection of Flanders tapestry is in the Spanish royal collection, there is 8000 metres of historical tapestry from Flanders, as well as Spanish tapestries designed by Goya and others. There is a special museum in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, and others are displayed in various historic buildings.
The Pastoral Amusements, also known as “Les Amusements Champêtres”, a series of 8 Beauvais Tapestries designed by Jean Baptiste Oudry between 1720 and 1730.
The Prestonpans Tapestry is a 104 metres long embroidery which tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Battle of Prestonpans.
Christ in Glory, (1962) for Coventry Cathedral designed by Graham Sutherland. Up until the 1990s this was the world’s largest vertical tapestry.
The Quaker Tapestry (1981–1989) is a modern set of embroidery panels that tell the story of Quakerism from the 17th century to the present day.

Tapestry – what is a tapestry?


A tapestry is a woven image which may use any number of textiles and may come in a wide range of sizes. Generally, the term refers to a wall-hanging which depicts a scene, but the term may also be used in conjunction with other textiles to indicate that a scene is woven onto an item. Examples of this include tapestry blankets, pillows and chairs.

The tapestry is one of the most pervasive works of art throughout historical Europe and elsewhere. Many churches and cathedrals had a number of ornate tapestries depicting religious scenes, and kings and nobility would often commission one to tell the story of a great battle or event. Because the textile may be removed from a wall and rolled up for easy transport, in many circumstances they were preferred to murals or other static forms of art which were tied to the architecture. In a cathedral or other religious setting, this mobility meant it could be kept stored away to be brought out only for special occasions and ceremonies, helping to add to its perceived importance.