Tapestry of Henry VIII, considered lost, discovered in Spain Automatic translate
The magnificent golden tapestry, more than 6 meters wide, commissioned by Henry VIII in the 16th century, was discovered in Spain, long after it was considered destroyed.
Woven with shiny gold and silver threads and literally worth a royal fortune, he once adorned the walls of Hampton Court, the stronghold of the Tudor monarchy. In exquisite details, its main scene depicts a bonfire in which St. Paul leads the burning of non-religious books. This was a harsh message from the king, who asserted his religious authority during the devastating phase of the English Reformation, a religious antecedent for the destruction of monasteries.
Experts called it the “Holy Grail of Tapestries of the Tudor Courtyard” and “one of the most luxurious and important renaissance tapestries.” It was part of a lost set of nine tapestries depicting the life of St. Paul. The kit was delivered to the king in the late 1530s and after his death in 1547 is mentioned in the inventory of Hampton Court property.
After renovating Windsor Castle in the 1670s, tapestries were reused as directed by Charles II. Before disappearing, the last time they are mentioned in the records of Windsor Castle in 1770.
Henry VIII was arguably the largest tapestry collector in history, originally owning a collection of 2,500 items. But only a small percentage of them has survived to this day, including one of the main masterpieces of that collection. The tapestries of Abraham, located in Hampton Court, also belonged to Henry VIII. These are very exquisite, sophisticated hand-made biblical tapestries, while the newly discovered pattern is very dynamic.
Studies show that a Spanish dealer sold the Saint Paul tapestry to a collector in Barcelona in the 1960s, and was subsequently sold to an anonymous buyer in Madrid, who now sent it to the UK for cleaning and conservation. Leading tapestry experts, Simon Frances and Thomas Campbell have confirmed that this is an item from the collection of Henry VIII. Frances called it "the highest achievement of tapestry weaving."
The tapestry was designed for the king by Peter Cook van Alst. It was woven in Brussels, and it took, possibly, up to two years to work for several of the best weavers of that time. Van Alst combined Raphael’s drama with the characters of Dürer in amazing detail.
The history of the royal collection of tapestries was lost in the 18th century, when paintings began to overshadow the tapestries in popularity and gradually took their places. Perhaps the royal servants tried to dissolve the tapestries that had lost their interest in order to extract the gold thread from them.
In 2013, the Spanish owner of the tapestry discovered suspected a possible connection with Hampton Court and tried in vain to obtain an export license. Now research has firmly established a connection. Frances called on Spain to grant an export permit. He hopes that the UK will be able to purchase this item if it appears on the open market. The tapestry is valued at least 5 million pounds.