A mid-17th century Spanish armorial tapestry centred by the coat-of arms of Luis de Salcedo, with the quarters including the arms of Cabex-Salcedo, Garay and Andalusia possibly woven in Flanders

September 18, 2019 2:01 pm Published by

Woven in wools. Retaining its original border. The centre of the top border is woven with a shield depicting diagonal lines. The side borders are woven with fine, profuse sprays of tulips and peonies. The sides are woven with Solomonic columns with vines trailing along them. The centre of the lower border is woven with a cartouche containing a lion’s head with a repeat of the fine, profuse tulip and peony sprays. The shield is surmounted by a magnificent, winged and plumed, helmet, and contained within an elaborate cartouche. The top left quarter depicts the arms of Cabex-Salecedo; a bay tree with a strawberry-shaped motif in each corner. The top right corner depicts the arms of Alzolaras (Andalusia); a boar trying to climb the bay tree. The bottom left quarter depicts two lions and … The bottom right quarter depicts a large shell amongst foliage. The cross behind the shield indicates that the bearer of the arms was a member of the Military Order of Calatrava, which was founded by King Don Sancho III of Castile in 1158 to fight against the Moors invaders. It is still in existence and the King of Spain is the Grand Master. The bottom of the tapestry is woven with hilly landscapes and two fortified towns.
Height 320 cm., 10 ft. 7 in., Length 266 cm., 8 ft. 9 in.,
The cross protruding with crown-like tips from behind the shield identifies the bearer as a member of the Order of Alcantara, which was founded by King Don Sancho III of Castile in 1158 and of which Don Luis de Salcedo became a member in 1666.
The colour range and type of weave is reminiscent of numerous examples of tapestries woven with Spanish armorials. These examples are generally believed to have been woven in Spain. Several weavers, many of them of Flemish origin, are recorded during the 17th Century in Spain, but it is very rare that armorial tapestries can be attributed to weavers. Armorial tapestries of this character are also believed to have been woven in Flanders to supply the foreign markets.
The colours are strong and vibrant with good contrasts. As typical with tapestries of this type the weave is relatively coarse but dense and the warp is well covered. There are only very small, localised losses which have been restored and the tapestry has been cleaned and conserved with some stitching against the lining. The tapestry is structurally firm and overall in very good and ready-to-hang condition.

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This post was written by joecollinson