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News. Nifty needlework

2nd of March, 2017

Found in the main part of the house’s West Wing extension, the intricate tapestries in these photographs depict subjects from Greek and Roman mythology, and were designed by artists of the era Jan Van Orley and Augustin Coppens (and rumoured to be based on cartoons exclusive to the workshops of Leyniers-Reyndams in Brussels). Legend has it that the tapestries were given to the family via Lord Stair (an ambassador to Paris) who had been given them by Louis XIV.

“They’re around 300 years old, and depict scenes from Greek and Roman mythology,” explains Thomas Breckney, Curators Assistant at Dumfries House. “The 5th Earl of Dumfries owned these tapestries, but we think only one, a maximum of two, had ever been displayed in the house. But the 3rd Marquis wanted them put on display, and here they are to this day. They were recently cleaned and conserved by the workshops in England, and while they were away we had photographic replicas hanging instead… No one noticed until we told them.”

The cedar wood panelling throughout the room is a bonus, adds Breckney, because it’s a moth repellant.