Restoring the greatest works of art from the European Middle Ages



Restoring the greatest works of art from the European Middle Ages

As part of the Australian Tapestry Workshop’s fortieth anniversary celebrations, the world-renowned art historian and director of the National Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris (Muse national du Moyen ge, formerly Muse de Cluny), Dr ElisabethTaburet-Delahaye will present a public lecture in November about the recent restoration of the magnificent The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.

The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries are a series of six wool and silk tapestries created in the 16th century and are considered to be the most important tapestry series woven in Middle Ages Europe.

Featured as part of the National Museum of the Middle Ages collection since 1882, The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries recently underwent an important major restoration and conservation program in 2012 and were installed in a custom designed space opened in the museum in December 2013.

In this lecture, Dr ElisabethTaburet-Delahaye will discuss the significance tapestries and outline the restoration process by expert textile conservators to restore the tapestries to their former glory.

“The soft cleaning and careful consolidation of the tapestries is the first step to modernize the museum, which will include restoration of monuments, construction of a new entrance and remodelling of the visitors experience,” said Dr ElisabethTaburet-Delahaye.

Australian Tapestry Workshop director, Antonia Syme, said ‘We are delighted to have Dr Taburet-Delahaye, one of the world's most distinguished medieval scholars, visit us again and share her extraordinary knowledge with us. She visited us several years ago where her sold out lecture was absolutely fascinating and stimulating.

“We are all looking forward with great anticipation to her lecture on the restoration of the world's most famous tapestries,” said Syme.


Date Thursday, 24 November 2016

Time 6.30pm (refreshments on arrival)

Location Australian Tapestry Workshop

Address 262–266 Park Street, South Melbourne

Tickets $20

Booking or 03 9699 7885


Dr Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye

Dr ElisabethTaburet-Delahaye is a French art historian and since 2005 is the director of the National Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris (Muse national du Moyen ge, formerly Muse de Cluny). Dr ElisabethTaburet-Delahaye was the Muse de Cluny Heritage Curator from 1978 to 1987. In 1987 she graduated with a Diploma of Advanced Studies (Master) in Art History. Her dissertation in art and archaeology at the University of Paris in 1989 was titled "Gothic goldsmith works from the 13th to the early 15th century in the Muse de Cluny". She then worked in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Louvre, where she was responsible for several exhibitions as curator, including a joint exhibition to Limgoes with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 1995. Since 2004, she was responsible for the scientific and artistic profile for the new museum Louvre-Lens. Dr ElisabethTaburet-Delahaye has written seven publications on art history and the decorative arts and is a Knight of the Legion of Honour and an Officer of the Order of Merit.


Australian Tapestry Workshop

The Australian Tapestry Workshop (ATW) enjoys an international reputation as a leader in contemporary tapestry. Established in 1976, it is the only workshop of its kind in Australia and one of only a handful in the world for the production of hand-woven tapestries. Artists worldwide are discovering how this traditional medium can be used in completely new ways, and the ATW is in the vanguard of this revival. ATW uses the traditional handmade Gobelins technique, which dates back to 15th-century Europe. With care, fine tapestries live for centuries, maintaining their sensual richness and warmth, long outlasting many other art forms. All ATW tapestries are woven in-house at the South Melbourne studio by highly skilled weavers and are produced with uncompromising standards of craftsmanship to create unique and original works. We use the finest Australian wool, dyed on the premises, which gives limitless interpretive possibilities. On the commencement of a tapestry commission, ATW weavers collaborate closely with the designer to make all decisions and exploring samples of colour, material, density and detail before weaving begins. The final placement of the tapestry plays a key role in these decisions, as they will greatly influence the role of light and sound in the space. All samples are kept in an archive which weavers often refer back to when beginning a new commission. Once the technique and material decisions are made, the weavers make the interpretive decisions in their capacity as expert artist weavers.


Interview opportunities

Dr Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye

Director, National Museum of the Middle Ages

Available for telephone interviews as soon as possible.

Available for in person interviews in Melbourne from Monday, 21 November 2016

Antonia Syme

Director, Australian Tapestry Workshop


Interviews and high res images available upon request.

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