Gainsborough: Fine arts society discover about the prized Abraham Tapestries

Blue Badge guide and Freeman of the City of London, Sue Jackson gave the November lecture to the Fine Arts society on the Abraham Tapestries.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 19th November 2013, 9:22 am
Sue Jackson and committee member, Elva van den Bos
Sue Jackson and committee member, Elva van den Bos

Highly likely to have been commissioned by Henry VIII in 1540, the set of ten works were made in Brussels and delivered to Hampton Court in around 1544.

The most highly valued art form of the 16th century, embroidered with furlongs of gold and silver thread, they were at the time only second to the Crown Jewels.

Depicting scenes from the life of the Prophet Abraham and his son Isaac in the book of Genesis and bordered with cartouches of moral behaviour, Henry may have used Abraham’s Story and his Covenant with God as a means of legitimising his own direct God-given rule and his desperate attempts to provide a male heir to secure the Tudor dynasty.

By 1649 they had already quadrupled in value to £8,260. Six remaining works have now been conserved and hang once more in the Great Hall of Hampton Court.

The next meeting of the society is the Christmas meeting on Thursday 5th December.

Tea and mince pies will be served and Anna Hallett will speak on Have you seen my Hobby Horse? A Magical Mystery Tour of Britain’s Ancient Customs.

Visitors are welcome for a £5 entrance fee. For membership details call 01427 788568. An light lunch can be booked on the Monday before the lecture day by calling 01427 838780.