Wroughte in Gold and Silk features important European tapestries and the world-class research that has been undertaken in order to preserve them. It marks the conclusion of the highly significant, Monitoring of Damage in Historic Tapestries (MODHT) project. MODHT involved seven European partners in the most intensive study yet undertaken to evaluate scientifically the cumulative damage done to historic tapestries on permanent display. The results revealing the physical composition of tapestries and the assessment of conservation techniques now allow curators and conservators around the globe to be guided in decision-making in a way that would not have been previously possible. The book is not only of interest to textile professionals and museum curators but to collectors as this material greatly enhances understanding of the properties and, therefore, the value of these great works of art.
The tapestry collections involved are those within the United Kingdom's Royal Collection and located at Hampton Court Palace, the Spanish Royal Collection's tapestries at the Palacio Real, Madrid, as well as tapestries from these Belgian sites -- the Tournai Cathedral, Bruges Musee Communaux, Bruges Musee Notre-Dame de la Poterie and Royal Museum of Art and History. The work is already having an impact on French, Polish and Vatican collections, as well as those found in American museums.
As an art form, the tapestry is unique is its depiction of great events of Western history going back 700 years and is linked to literature, painting, religious beliefs, social history and, of course, court etiquette.
Wroughte in Gold and Silk reports on the tests conducted relative to the composition and characteristics of tapestries' raw materials, deterioration processes and intervening corrosive agents together with their stability indexes. In addition to color photographs are shots of works in progress behind the scenes during the period of the MODHT project, instruments used, chemical tables and dyeing recipes of combinations of wools and silks.
Dr. Anita Quye is principal scientists at the National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Kathryn Hallett is preventive conservation and science manager at Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court Palace, England.
Dr. Concha Herrero Carretero is co-coordinator of the conservation department, Parrimonio Nacional, Madrid.