Detail of two heads from the Swan and the Otter Hunt Devonshire Hunting tapestry, mid-15th century. Museum no. T.203-1957

Detail of two heads from the Swan and the Otter Hunt Devonshire Hunting tapestry, mid-15th century. Museum no. T.203-1957

Detail of two heads from the Swan and the Otter Hunt Devonshire Hunting tapestry
Franco-Burgundian
mid-15th century
Museum no. T.203-1957

These four great woven hangings were made over a period of thirty years in the mid-15th century at the tapestry studios of Arras and Tournai. They were eventually hung in the home of the Duke of Devonshire. The subjects of the tapestries are Swan and Otter Hunt, Deer Hunt, Falconry, and Bear and Boar Hunt. They teem with lively historical detail that sheds light on the way people hunted for entertainment and food, as well as on the clothes, weapons, animals and landscape of the period. The tapestries were used to decorate, to warm and to impress. Although some figures have been made to look three-dimensional by the use of the hachure technique for shading, there is little perspective.