The Burrell Collection Tapestries Project

Glasgow Museums

Archive for March 2010

The largest tapestry!

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The Triumph of Divine Wisdom

The Triumph of Divine Wisdom

Recent visitors to the Burrell will have noticed some changes in the tapestry gallery. The four large tapestries occupying this space have now been removed. But don’t despair! The largest tapestry in the collection, never before on public display before is up. The Triumph of Divine Wisdom will be on display until September 2010. Due to the research in progress, much of what was thought about this tapestry has been proven to be incorrect, or at least not-quite-correct! Definitive information about the tapestry will not be available until the Burrell Tapestry Catalogue is published. In the mean time, here’s what we know. Or what we think we know!

• At it’s highest point, the tapestry measures 4 meters 60 centimetres
• At it’s widest point it measures 8 meters 7 centimetres
• It weighs 39.5 kilograms (roughly 6.2 stones)

• This tapestry and ‘The Triumph of Virtue’ are copies of a much richer set of nine tapestries made for the young Emperor Charles V at the time of his coronation, and the overall theme of the set relates to the various qualities needed by a Renaissance-period monarch.
• The original set was completed in about 1523.
• We think that this tapestry and the ‘Triumph of Faith’ were made at some point after the mid 16th century.

• This tapestry and ‘The Triumph of Faith’ were not purchased at auction by the Burrell Trustees shortly after Sir William’s death in 1958 as previously thought. We have since discovered that no Trustees had yet been appointed. We now think both tapestries were probably acquired by Sir William Burrell’s wife, Constance, perhaps fulfilling a wish made by Sir William before he died.

• The title of this tapestry will probably be published in our catalogue as ‘Virtue’ or ‘Virtue overcoming Vice’ (i.e. the two central male figures), rather than ‘Divine Wisdom’, the figure at the top of the tapestry. The many other figures in the tapestry interact to form part of a very complicated allegorical programme.

Curator of Medieval and Renaissance art, Pat Collins will give an illustrated talk about these allegories in the Lecture Theatre on Thursday 3 June.


Written by lyndseymcl

March 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Tapestry mania

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Well, we’re just about recovered from our latest run of tapestry events. From half term happenings to study days, we’ve packed in activities to entertain and educate all the family. A succesful half term weekend of tapestry events  in February kept visitors tapestry-tuned, with Tapestry tales from our storyteller, Allison Galbraith,  a weaving demo from Jonathan Cleaver of the Dovecot Studio – a real live weaver, and a visit from Sir Hugo, our very own Medieval knight,  who showed off armour from the period of the tapestries. A good time was had by all, with over 2000 visitors in over the long weekend. Watch this space for updates on how the rest of our events went in February and March. And keep an eye out for our April – June programme!

Written by lyndseymcl

March 18, 2010 at 12:32 pm