The richest collection of tapestries in Europe—at least for its series of fine Flemish hangings of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries — is that in the Royal Falace of Spain at Madrid, consisting of more than six hundred pieces. This collection has only been known to the artistic world of late years, a series of photo may, or Vermeyer ; the Loves of Vcrtumnus and Pomona, from the same studio ; the labors of Hercules ; the Spheres, etc. ; several hangings from the Gobelins manufactory, etc. In the Palace of the Escurial are a large series of tapestries executed in the royal manufactory at Madrid, from the cartoons of Goya, Bayeu, and Maella, and Flemish tapestries representing rustic scenes, after Teniers. The palace of the Duke of Alva contained an important series executed in Flanders for the Duke of Alva. We do not know if they are still preserved. The Pitti Palace, Florence, possesses one of the richest collections of tapestry in Europe. It consists of about six hundred pieces, which had never been exhibited to the public until they were recently placed in the long gallery which joins the museum of the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace, across the Amo. There are some fine pieces of tapestry’ woven by Jean Rost and Nicholas Karcher, founders of the manufactory at Florence, and others executed by Pierre Flore and the members of his family.Order now
In Rome, at the palace of the Vatican, are preserved, in a special gallery, the celebrated Arazzi, ordered at Brussels by Pope Leo X. for the decoration of the Sistine chapel. It is known that Raphael was commissioned to execute the cartoons. There is also in the palace of the Vatican a magnificent piece of tapestry after the Last Supper of Leonardo da Vinci, executed at Brussels, and presented by King Francis I. to Leo X. The most important hanging that France possesses as bearing upon the study of the art of tapestry from its commencement, is in Angers Cathedral. It was made in the beginning of the fifteenth century’, represents the Apocalypse, and was bequeathed to the cathedral by King René. It is composed of ninety pictures, arranged consecutively. At Baycux there is a grand tapestry in the form of a frieze, representing the con- quest of England by the Normans. It was executed by the command of Queen Matilda, or her brother-in-law, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux.
We have only mentioned this artistic relic on account of its historical interest, for being embroidered by hand it cannot prop- erly be said to be tapestry.
In the museum at Berne is a series of tapestries forming the hangings for the tent of Charles the Bold, Duke of Bur- gundy, taken after the battle of Morat. These tapestries represent the legend of Erkenbol, and are supposed to have been executed from the designs of Roger van dcr Weyden.
The South Kensington Museum in London has but a comparatively small number of tapestries. There are, however, several pieces of German manufacture of the fifteenth century, bearing inscriptions; two fine Flemish tapestries of the beginning of the sixteenth century; a Flemish tapestry of the end of the fifteenth century, representing Susanna and the Elders, decorated with a rich border; another representing Esther and Ahasuerus, and a piece after the cartoons of Raphael, representing the Acts of Christ and the Apostles, executed at the royal manufactory at Mortlake.
All these tapestries arc described in the “Catalogue of Textile Fabrics in the South Kensington Museum,” by Daniel Rock, D.D. Some of the finest specimens were lent by the administration of the museum to the Exhibition of the History of Tapestry, in Paris, in 1876. The museum also contains one of the greatest artistic curiosities connected with the history of tapestry—the seven large cartoons designed by Raphael for the decoration of the Sistine chapel in the Vatican, and bought at Brussels by Charles I. These cartoons (formerly at Hampton Court) are the properly of the Queen.