Tapestry conservation in a nutshell

So what is a tapestry and how is it made?

A tapestry is a woven textile created by passing coloured silk and wools yarns – the weft, over and under alternate undyed yarns – the warp.

The weft is then beaten down with a comb to completely cover the warp.

The weft creates the image.

How are tapestries repaired?

To secure the woven structure and the image the tapestry is sewn to a linen backing through which the stitched repairs are made.

Working tapestry repairs on a frame

Conservators use large frames with three rollers to repair tapestries. This allows them to work in measured sections from one side of the tapestry to the other making sure nothing is missed.

The tapestry and its linen backing are gradually sewn together and wound onto a single roller.

After all the repairs have been worked the tapestry is taken off the frame.

Finally it is lined and prepared for re-hanging.