Glossary

Tapestries were displayed in the palaces, cathedrals and grand residences of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. People had tapestries for many different reasons:

Brussels
A city in Belgium, referred to as the Low Countries or Flanders in the 16th century. During this time, Brussels was renowned for the high quality and large number of tapestries produced there.

Brussels Mark
Brussels Weave mark
The double 'B' symbol woven into tapestries made in Brussels workshops. It was compulsory to include this symbol on all tapestries woven in Brussels after 1528.

Cartoon
The full scale, colour image of the design that a tapestry is based on, usually created by 'freelance' artists.

Centurion
A commander in the Roman army who was in charge of one hundred men.

Commission
An order or command for something, particularly a work of art, to be produced specially

Flemish
The language, people and products of Flanders, a region of Northern Europe divided between present day France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Fortitude
Courage or strength in the face of adversity.

Habsburg
The House of Habsburg was a powerful and prominent family of European rulers, patrons and collectors. The Austrian members of the family ruled Austria from 1278 until 1918, and were Holy Roman Emperors from 1452 until 1806. The Spanish branch which controlled Flanders was established in 1516 and continued to occupy the Spanish throne for the next 184 years.

Humidity
This is the amount of moisture present in the air. In a gallery or museum, humidity has to be monitored to ensure that conditions do not become too damp or too dry, either of which could cause damage to the works on display.

Julius Caesar
The first Roman emperor.

Loom
The wooden frame on which a tapestry is woven.

Medieval
The period of European history lasting from c 1100 until 1453 AD .

Philistines
A non-Jewish people who lived in ancient Palestine and came into conflict with the Israelites.

Renaissance
A revival of art and literature in 14th-16th century Europe, influenced by classical Roman and Greek culture.

River Tiber
The Italian river that runs through the heart of Rome.

Tapestry
A piece of thick textile fabric with pictures or designs formed by the weaving of coloured weft threads through thicker warp threads.

Tribune
An official in ancient Rome, elected by the ordinary people to protect their interests.

Warp
Load bearing threads, usually of wool or linen, which form the structure of a tapestry.

Weaver's Mark
This is a symbol sewn into a tapestry by a weaver. It may be the weaver's personal sign, or perhaps that of a merchant involved in the commission and sale of a tapestry. Although we cannot always be sure of the exact meaning, weaver's marks help us identify which tapestries originated in the same workshop. They are sometimes known as atelier marks - atelier is French for 'workshop'.

Weft
The colourful, decorative wool, silk or metallic threads that form the patterns of the tapestry.

Virtue
A quality considered morally good or desirable.