8 TAPESTRIES

in the castle of BOUSSAC

 

7 + 1 - 2 = 6

 

NUMBER AND ORDER OF TAPESTRIES

The six nowadays visible tapestries in the medieval Museum and Thermal baths of Cluny in Paris are the surviving of a series of eight tapestries. The initial curtain of seven tapestries (two disappeared) tell various episodes of Mary's life in France.

The eighth (The actual Touch), supernumerary, was weaved after 1525 and does not belong to initial series.

 

 

portrait of George Sand
by A. Charpentier in 1835

Prosper Mérimée

 

Prosper Mérimée in 1844

 

 

Photography of George Sand
by Félix Nadar

 

 

By supporting me on the writings of George Sand and Prosper Mérimée, I think that the original curtain of The Lady with the Unicorn was constituted of 7 tapestries and history weaved by Mary Tudor could be so reconstructed :

1- The Throne n°1 : she is Queen of France (missing tapestry)

2- The Taste : Mary is Queen of France.

3- The Hearing : Louis XII died. Mary is the " White Queen " in Cluny.

4- The View : Mary fears his return in England.

5- The Smell : Mary is not pregnant. She removes one by one the French carnations from her crown.

6- The Touch - The Tent (My only wish) : Mary is waiting in Calais for the boat for Dover.

7- The Throne n°2 : Mary is Duchess-Queen ; duchess of Suffolk and Queen-Dowager of France (missing tapestry)


It would be necessary, today, to re-weave these two tapestries which miss us so much !

 

The 7 tapestries in 1515 (in chronological order of events)

1
2
3
4
5
6
7

Mary alone

sitting ?

 

Claude on the left

Mary on the right

 

Mary on the left

Claude on the right

 

Mary alone

sitting

 

Claude on the left

Mary on the right

Mary on the left

Claude on the right

 

Mary alone

sitting ?

 

L 4,60 x H 3,75

+ large

L 3,68 x H 2,90
L 3,30 x H 3,10
L 3,20 x H 3,67

L 4,70 x H 3,76

+ large

 

The Throne 1

(missing)

The Taste
The Hearing
The Sight
The Smell

The Touch

(The Tent)

The Throne 2

(missing)


Cleverly thought composition : alternating positions to the right and left, symmetry / s of the whole.

The tapestries where Mary is sitting are harmoniously distributed in 1, 4 and 7, for the sake of balance of the whole.

Should these two tapestries reweave that we miss so much !

 

The series of 7 tapestries, conceived and weaved between 1515 and 1520 for instance, only centered on Mary, on its Parisian stay as Queen de France, ends how it began, royally !

7, sacred number, of Perfection, Equilibrium, Purity and Harmony. Of Love also because linked to Venus.

In The Middle Ages, senses were prioritized :
— servile senses of taste and smell
— cognitive sense of touch
— noble senses of contemplation : sight and hearing.

The order of the Five Senses waited at the beginning of this 16th century is absolutely upset to conceal a secret better. In this riot of Senses wanted by the painter, Mary's history disappears, indistinct, quasi unreadable until 1981.

 

The testimony of George Sand

Let us glorify George Sand and Prosper Mérimée to have discovered The Lady with the Unicorn in the castle of Boussac and have saved it from destruction.

Written testimony of George Sand were neglected. We must to believed her because she is an attentive visitor, an informed and farsighted art lover.

In an article of The Illustration of July 3rd, 1847, she writes : " On eight tapestries which fill two vast rooms (appointed to the place of the French administrative subdivision), we see the portrait of a woman, the same everywhere, of course ; young, slim, long, blonde and pretty ; dressed in eight different costumes, all in the fashion of the end of the 15th century.

 


And farther : "
In one of these tapestries, the beautiful lady is sitting in full face, and strokes with each hand great white unicorns that frame as two supports of Arms. Elsewhere, these unicorns standing carry beside them spears with their flag. Elsewhere, the lady is on a very rich throne, and there is something Asiatic in the ornaments of her dais and her splendid dress. "

And farther even, regarding the prince Zizim : " And, when she sits on the throne with a kind of royal turban in the forehead. "

George Sand saw well 8 tapestries of the same style, the same series. She cannot have invented these two tapestries where Mary is sitting down on a throne.

It's two different tapestries she has seen and which have disappeared. They can not be confused with one of six tapestries currently exhibited.

 

 

Satisfaction and sadness :
Who smiles ? Who cries ? And why ?

 

M

A

R

Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tast
The Hearing
The Sight
The Smell
The Touch

 

C

L

A

U

D

E

 

Satisfaction

and

sadness

---------

Who smiles ?

Who cries ?

And why ?


 

Why these two tapestries that I continue to name Thrones did they disappear ?

At any rate, it is only principally human reasons : stupidity, lack of intelligence, lack of culture and ignorance of the artistic, historical ... importance of this tapestry.

Let us differentiate 'material ' reasons :

— put in ends of group, in position 1 and 8, it was perhaps 'easier ' to take them away without creating a 'hole' in the set.

— they may have been taken down first because they were in an extreme position in 1 and 8.
Then they were rolled, placed in a corner, left to moisture and rats, then to the material needs of the inhabitants of the castle (cutting carpets, protection of vegetables, moving the piano ...)?

Also let us differentiate 'ideological ' reasons :

— consciously or unconsciously, the two Thrones which exhibited a crowned queen
may have exacerbated, until their complete destruction, 'republican' anti-monarchical feelings in sub-prefects and their staff lodged in the castle of Boussac, headquarters of the sub-prefecture, from 1838 to 1926 ?

 

 

The eighth tapestry, which I will call Pavia, where Mary is not present, currently called The Touch was drawn and woven after 1525.

This supernumerary piece evokes the French defeat at Pavia, threats of invasion of France and the great anger of Antoine Le Viste and his political friends. Antoine and the painter answer with this tapestry, disdainful for the king, former captive and perjury.

I think that the same artist (Jean Perréal ?) has developed four series of very famous tapestries : The Hunt of the Unicorn of the Cloisters in New York, The Lady and the Unicorn of Cluny, The Story of Perseus in a private collection and Illustrious Women in the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston.

 

< Page 1

SUITE page 3