Loading Spinner

Tapestries

Today, tapestry is widely used to describe a variety of textiles, including embroidery and mechanically-woven fabrics. Historically, tapestry refers to weft faced and often figural textiles woven by hand using a loom. The loom is composed of two rollers that stretch plain warp threads, which form the backbone of the tapestry. Because of its durability, wool was commonly used for the weft threads, whereas a range of materials including wool, linen, and silk, were used for the warp.

Traditional tapestries became especially popular in Europe during the 14th century. In 1384, Philip the Bold inherited the province of Artois in France and decorated his court with tapestries displaying the dynastic, religious, and commercial exploits of his territories. Some of his tapestries, which were made by local weavers and guilds, used gold and silver-lined threads that resulted in a shimmering, iridescent appearance. By the 15th and 16th centuries, royalty and nobility across Europe, Russia, and Asia commissioned elaborate tapestries for display within their churches, castles, and homes. Henry VIII of England, for example, amassed an impressive collection of Netherlandish tapestries to decorate his palaces and country homes.

Tapestry experienced a revival during the 19th century, when William Morris produced modern, innovative tapestries intended for ecclesiastical and decorative purposes. The art of Edward Burne-Jones, a British artist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, served as inspiration for the figures and scenes in Morris' tapestries. Tapestry makers continue to test the limits of the medium today, creating unique works of art with dazzlingly complex patterns and designs.


Quick Facts

  • On November 26, 2014, Christie’s Hong Kong sold an imperial embroidered silk thangka, a tapestry depicting Buddhist deities, for $45,142,597
  • Medieval tapestries drew themes from ancient legends, history, mythology, religion, and sport
  • Some of the oldest tapestries to have survived were made in ancient Egypt in 1500 B.C.

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

A FLEMISH TAPESTRY FRAGMENT WOVEN WITH A UNICORN, MID/LATE 17TH CENTURY
Oct 03, 10:30 AM BST
A FLEMISH TAPESTRY FRAGMENT WOVEN WITH A UNICORN, MID/LATE 17TH CENTURY
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £1,500- £2,500
£1,00012 Bids
French Tapestry Wall Hanging Decor Hunting Scene
Oct 01, 10:00 AM MST
French Tapestry Wall Hanging Decor Hunting Scene
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$355 Bids
Small Tapestry Fragment
Oct 01, 4:00 PM CEST
Small Tapestry Fragment
by Austria Auction Company
Est: €1,000- €1,500
€5003 Bids
A 17thC Flemish verdure wall tapestry depicting a parrot in a park landscape, 266 x 347 cm
Oct 05, 10:00 AM CEST
A 17thC Flemish verdure wall tapestry depicting a parrot in a park landscape, 266 x 347 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €3,000- €5,000
€1,7002 Bids
A BRUSSELS BIBLICAL TAPESTRY 'THE DISCOVERY OF MOSES' EARLY 18TH CENTURY
Oct 03, 10:30 AM BST
A BRUSSELS BIBLICAL TAPESTRY 'THE DISCOVERY OF MOSES' EARLY 18TH CENTURY
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £3,000- £5,000
£302 Bids
Vintage French Forest Scene Tapestry, Fringe Trim
Oct 19, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage French Forest Scene Tapestry, Fringe Trim
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $200
$11 Bid
Wandteppich / Tapestry
Oct 07, 2:00 PM CEST
Wandteppich / Tapestry
by Kunstauktionshaus Günther
Est: €0- €0
€601 Bid
Tapestry Pillows With Crests, Pair H 25" W 22"
Oct 14, 11:00 AM EDT
Tapestry Pillows With Crests, Pair H 25" W 22"
by DuMouchelles
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Tapestry Inset, W 24" L 14" Pair Of Pillows
Oct 14, 11:00 AM EDT
Tapestry Inset, W 24" L 14" Pair Of Pillows
by DuMouchelles
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
(2pc) Butler Pull Floral Tapestries
Oct 01, 10:00 AM MST
(2pc) Butler Pull Floral Tapestries
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
An 18thC Aubusson wall tapestry, depicting herons and birds in a landscape, 253 x 483 cm
Oct 05, 10:00 AM CEST
An 18thC Aubusson wall tapestry, depicting herons and birds in a landscape, 253 x 483 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €2,000- €4,000
€1,0001 Bid
19thc Gilt Framed Roses Tapestry
Oct 08, 2:00 PM EDT
19thc Gilt Framed Roses Tapestry
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids
Antique Dutch tapestry, 170 x 123 cm.
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Antique Dutch tapestry, 170 x 123 cm.
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€500 Bids
Oriental tapestry, 148 x 71 cm.
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Oriental tapestry, 148 x 71 cm.
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€1500 Bids
GRANDE ARAZZO "Paesaggio con personaggi"
Oct 16, 10:30 AM CEST
GRANDE ARAZZO "Paesaggio con personaggi"
by Benedetto Trionfante Casa d’Aste
Est: €700- €800
€1400 Bids
Ida Opal : Tapisserie, tissus cousus, titrée La pointe, décor géométrique d
Oct 03, 2:00 PM CEST
Ida Opal : Tapisserie, tissus cousus, titrée La pointe, décor géométrique d
by Salle de Ventes Saint-Job
Est: €150- €180
€1500 Bids
A Pair of Continental Painted Tapestry Cartoons
Oct 18, 11:00 AM CDT
A Pair of Continental Painted Tapestry Cartoons
by Hindman
Est: $5,000- $7,000
$2,5000 Bids
An Aubusson Wool Tapestry
Oct 18, 11:00 AM CDT
An Aubusson Wool Tapestry
by Hindman
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
bp parity badge
Vintage Hand Woven Tapestry & Blanket
Oct 18, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Hand Woven Tapestry & Blanket
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $100- $200
$100 Bids
CARLOS PAEZ VILARO (URUGUAYAN 1923-2014)
Oct 15, 10:00 AM EDT
CARLOS PAEZ VILARO (URUGUAYAN 1923-2014)
by Shapiro Auctions LLC
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids
Two Gilt Embroidered "Elephant" Tapestries
Oct 08, 10:00 AM EDT
Two Gilt Embroidered "Elephant" Tapestries
by Roland Auctions NY
Est: $40- $50
$200 Bids
Charles Lindbergh Spirit of St Louis Framed Tapestry
Oct 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Charles Lindbergh Spirit of St Louis Framed Tapestry
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$200 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Tapestries


Vanderkindere

Vanderkindere

Guilmoto & Associés - Isère Enchères

Guilmoto & Associés - Isère Enchères

Austin Auction Gallery

Austin Auction Gallery

Roland Auctions NY

Roland Auctions NY