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Unicorn Tapestry Adaptations


The famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries are housed at Cluny in Paris.
Musée National du Moyen Âge
Send e-postcards of details from these tapestries (or just look at nice pictures) from Musée National du Moyen Âge

Kits from The Royal Gallery of Needlepoint Tapestries

The Hunt of the Unicorn series is housed in the Cloisters in New York.
A site called the Unicorn Grove has a page about the Unicorn Tapestries.

Mille Fleurs - This Belgian site carries reproductions of a number of tapestries. The picture at the right is from their online catalog.

Hunt for the Unicorn


Article: 20021 of rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
From: "Gaylin J. Walli"
Date: 14 Jul 1995 20:49:40 GMT

marbeth@ix.netcom.com (Martha Beth Lewis) wrote:
> The chart is published by Dimensions (641 Knight St, Reading PA
> 19601). It has two of the Cluny tapestries: sense of taste
> and sense of hearing. I just saw this chart at my local xst
> store, so it's still currently available. Martha Beth
I just recently got _Taste_ done. It took me *forever* and I was so suprised that it took me two days to check it over to see if I had missed anything. Then I had all three women at the store I got it framed at (SHAMELESS PLUG FOR MY MOM: The Stitching Post, Grand Haven, Michigan, 616.842.6900) check it over to make sure they couldn't find anything missing. Complete, YEAH!
While the piece is gorgeous when it's finished, I do have two complaints. First, the oranges are hideous, IMHO. I don't like the choices. I ended up replacing them with other colors more to my liking. (Darned if I can remember what they were, though.)
I think the reason I found these colors difficult to deal with was because the fabric color was an integral part of the design (the dress of the lady on the right uses a pattern of empty "spots" to simulate the brocade-look on the original dress). And after a month of searching through suppliers catalogs (way back when the pattern first came out) I simply couldn't find the appropriate fabric. I ended up using a Lugana, I think.
Second, unlike the original tapestry, the pattern does not place any of the little creatures/animals in the background of the picture, only on the base that the two women are standing on. Artistic interpretation aside, a couple small critters would have been easy to place. Had I thought about it when I first did this section, I probably would have added some. However, there is something to be said for simplification of stitching by not having those critters there.
My mother, on the other hand, disagrees with my complaints. She thinks the colors are perfect choices. And she likes the little animals right where they are. We do, however, both agree that their choice of frames on the cover of the pattern was a big mistake. Big, ornate, and gilt simply doesn't do this pattern justice. I ended up choosing a *much* plainer frame of darker wood with reddish undertones.
There you go. Two opinions for free, a shamless plug to boot, and a newbie to the newsgroup de-lurking with a dissertation. ;-)
Happy stitching,
(m.k.a. Gaylin J. Walli)

Article: 20069 of rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
From: Stitchers Source
Date: 15 Jul 1995 04:35:48 GMT

IMHO the best cross stitch reproduction is that done by Thea Gouvernour. All interested can see it in the latest issue of The Stitchery. I'm fond of Theas designs because of the shading and color changes. I especially love the floral also in The Stitchery. And she has a Tut that is equally as beautiful...and...and ;-)

Article: 120019 of rec.org.sca
From: noramunro@aol.com (Noramunro)
Date: 19 Jul 1995 20:31:58 -0400

For the lady who wanted to know about other medieval designs in cross stitch: A friend of mine gave me a set of charts for 2 of the Cluny "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestries (Hearing and Taste). They were published by Dimensions, and the leaflet is labelled "Book 1" which suggests there might be more, though I've never seen them in my local stores. The address for Dimensions, Inc. is: 641 McKnight St., Reading, PA 19601.

Article: 16156 of rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
From: Tara
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 1995 21:13:48 -0400

On 8 Jun 1995, Wendy D. Streitz wrote:
> Deborah Meinhart (dmeinhar@nova.umuc.edu) wrote:
> : I was there on sunday, but I'm not sure which piece you're refering to.
> : Could you describe what the picture was of in more detail? Was it the
> : Lady and the Unicorn? I remember seeing that one in the last room.
> > It was not the Lady and the Unicorn. In fact, it was not a piece I'd
> ever seen before, and my memory for details is not great, but I'll try.
Ah hah! Found my book on the "Unicorn Tapistries" and it has mention & pictures of the "Lady & the Unicorn".
The "Lady & the Unicorn" are a series of 6 tapestries with the following themes:
Sight (the most famous, the lady is holding a mirror)
Hearing (The lady is playing an organ & her attendant is near)
Taste (the lady is about to sample food offered by her servant)
Smell (the lady making a fillet of carnations)
Touch (the lady touches the unicorn's horn)
A Mon Seul Desir (unicorn & lion support the banner & pennant with the Le Viste arms, draw aside a fabric tent to show a lady inspecting her jewels as held by her servant)
In all of them both a lion and a unicorn is present. The unicorn's role is to support the banner or shield of the Le Viste family (presumably the sponsors). The lion is often given the same role opposite the unicorn.They are located in the Cluny Museum (at least, according to my 1983 book).
It has been assumed that these tapestries were commissioned for a marriage (explaining the jewels, present?, in the last).
Anyways, it is "A Mon Seul Desir" from the "Lady and the Unicorn" which was stitched (I had thoughtlessly assumed it was sight, but then for some *ODD* reason I always mix those two up...don't ask).
The "Unicorn Tapestries" are the ones at the Cloisters and depict a hunt of the unicorn (most famous - unicorn in small round pen with a tree).
And Debbie (?) said that it was stitched with silk (split) - the Yarn Shop (local needlework store) employees also said that. They also added the fabric was 70-something count. (I forget the exact number, I don't think I heard it as my jaw dropped to the floor.)
I wonder if the guy who stitched this is retired or what.... He registered himself as an amateur (as opposed to the separately judged professional division) and had *lots* of entries - all beautifully done.
Tara R. Scholtz University of Maryland at College Park
tara@wam.umd.edu or ts94@umail.umd.edu McKeldin Library


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