Medieval 'Mille-Fleurs' Collection

Within this category you will find arguably the most famous masterpieces of textile art known as the Lady with the Unicorn. The striking red background against the contrasting dark blue of the island upon which the Lady, the Unicorn, the Lion and the maidservant stand delight the eye. The backgrounds are decorated with flowers and trees and little animals, varying with each tapestry. The lady, her gown, head-dress and jewels are also different for each tapestry. Everything combines to charm and delight as well as to fascinate us with the mystery surrounding the creation of these ancient surviving tapestries.

Many tapestries have a mille fleur background (meaning thousand flowers) but the most famous are the tapestries from the Lady with the Unicorn a series of six tapestries depicting the five senses and the sixth showing the Lady replacing the necklace from around her neck into a casket offered by her maid. The Lady with the Unicorn tapestries are believed to have been woven around 1490 and were brought to the attention of the wider public at the Chateau de Boussac in France during the 1840's. After many long years they were finally brought to the Cluny Museum in France and now occupy a unique purpose built exhibition space.

Other tapestries from this period celebrate aspects of court life and village activities such as winemaking, harvest, concerts, embroidery and shearing.

An extensive range of Mille-Fleurs tapestries and designs are available for purchase at Classic Tapestries. Not all are available for viewing on the website. We welcome enquiries. Please contact us for further designs.

MF3018 DAME A LA LICORNE 'A MON SEUL DESIR' (LADY WITH THE UNICORN- TO MY ONLY DESIRE)

From the 'Lady With The Unicorn' series, probably the finest works of textile art that survive from the Middle Ages. Originally woven circa 1490; now in the Cluny Museum, Paris. Silk-screened.

MF3016 THE CAPTIVE UNICORN

Silk-screened late 15th century mille-fleurs tapestry from Flanders. Now on display at the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

MF3096 THE MEDIEVAL DANCE (LA DANSE MEDIEVAL)

Silk-screened tapestry from the series known as the 'Noble Pastoral' which represents the activities of country people at harvest time. Originally woven in the Loire Valley in the late 15th century.

MF3017 THE CAPTIVE UNICORN (RED)

Originally woven for royalty in the 15th century in Flanders. Loom woven

MF3097 MILLE-FLEURS ANIMAUX (THOUSAND FLOWERS - ANIMALS)

The mille-fleur (thousand flowers)style emerged during the 15th century. This hand woven tapestry shows flowers interspersed with animals. Hand woven

MF3098 THE CHEVALIER MEDIEVAL (THE MEDIEVAL KNIGHT)

From a 15th century tapestry of a mounted knight bearing his standard in a mille-fleur background. Loom woven

MF3116 NOBLE SCENE (SCENES GALANTES)

Originally woven in the Loire Valley circa 1500, this region was renowned the mille-fleur style. This tapestry shows the nobility in various pursuits. Loom woven.

MF3117 THE VINTAGE (NO BORDER) LES VENDANGES

The story of winemaking is shown in this tapestry,from 1500, which now hangs in the Cluny Museum, Paris. Loom woven

MF3118 THE WINEPRESS (LE PRESSAGE)

This tapestry shows the treading and pressing of the grapes, whilst a nobleman samples the grapes. Loom woven

MF3119 THE GRAPE HARVEST (LA RECOLTE)

A 15th century tapestry showing the harvesting of the grapes in the vineyard. Loom woven

MF3120 VINTAGE AT THE CASTLE (VENDANGES AU CHATEAU)

This tapestry is part of the series "Tenture de la vie aux champs" (tapestry of life in the country)originally woven around 1520 at the Tournai workshops and illustrates country life. Loom woven

MF3121 DAME A L'ORGUE "LADY WITH THE ORGAN"

From the circa 1490 Lady with the Unicorn tapestry series, this one represents the sense of hearing. The lady plays the organ whilst her maid works the bellows in a clearing. Loom woven

MF3122 LADY WITH THE UNICORN - A MON SEUL DESIR (TO MY ONLY DESIRE)

The Lady with the Unicorn series, A Mon Seul Desir, were discovered at the Chateau de Boussac in France in 1844 where they had been stored for at least a century and now hang at the Cluny Museum. Loom woven.

MF3123 SCENE GALANTES - NOBLE SCENE (WITH BORDER)

A beautiful tapestry from 1500 in the Mille-Fleur style showing nobility. This tapestry features a rich border. Loom woven.

MF3124 THE MEDIEVAL GARDEN

Dating from around 1500 this tapestry shows the nobility at various pastimes in the garden. Loom woven

MF3126 LADY WITH THE UNICORN-TASTE

From the famous Lady and the Unicorn series decting the five senses. Taste shows the lady accepting a delicacy presented by her maid. Loom woven.

MF3127 NOBEL AMAZONE

A mille-fleur style tapestry originally woven in the 16th century in Loire Valley. Loom woven.

MF3128 THE VINTAGE (GRAPE & LEAF BORDER)

This tapestry from the Middle Ages shows grape harvesting and wine making and features a beautiful border of grapes and leaves. Loom woven

MF3129 LADY WITH THE UNICORN-SIGHT

This tapestry illustrates the sense of Sight. The Lady is looking at the Unicorn, which is looking at its reflection in the mirror, whilst the Lion keeps a watch. Loom woven.

MF3130 THE CAPTIVE UNICORN (BLUE)

Reproduction of a late 15th century tapestry which now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Loom woven.