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The Huntsman

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©V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London


This small depiction of a huntsman was probably once part of a larger tapestry. The quatrefoil pattern framing the composition above and below and the cut edges to either side suggest that it probably occupied a place in a horizontal border.

Much of the design is derivative. Although the horizontal border pattern is seen on the decorated ribbon which closes the arch seen on many tapestries called Sheldon, it is also is found earlier in sixteenth century tapestries woven in the Low Countries.

The figure of the hunter is very similar to the illustrations in George Turberville's The Art of Venerie, published in London in 1576 and possibly copied later by Thomas Trevelyon around 1608.

Without knowing about the rest of the tapestry it is hard to say how such a narrow piece would have been used. It could have been part of a valance ; it might have hung like a frieze along the upper part of a wall or decorated the edge of a cupboard on which gold and silver plate or majolica jugs would have been displayed.

A very similar figure was woven into strips showing the story of the Prodigal Son, now owned by the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne - More -->

Another, rather different, piece showing a hunter chasing a rabbit is in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow (47.24).



Gift of Wendy Hefford 1993
Museum number T.645-1993

9 inches x 8 1 / 4 inches
23 x 21 cms
Wool and silk

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