Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Production of historically accurate model tapestry fabrics

Historical tapestries have a particularly dense weft faced weave structure where the warp yarns are typically undyed wool and the image forming weft yarns are wool and silk dyed with a range of natural dyes. Great care was taken in the sourcing of wool and silk yarns of similar provenance, Tex value and ply as those found in historical tapestries. The yarns were dyed according to historically accurate dyeing recipes which were transcribed and converted from manuscripts and dyeing books from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The correct biological source was verified for all natural dyestuffs used. To achieve the dense tapestry weave structure warp and weft were reversed during weaving; the resulting structure was assessed by tapestry conservators and found to be a very close resemblance of Renaissance tapestries. 24 wool fabrics and 14 silk fabrics were woven on a Northrop Shuttle loom and subsequently accelerated light aged in a Xenotest 150S light ageing apparatus to 60 Megalux hours which is the approximate equivalent of 400 years museum lighting of sunlight behind window glass. The unaged and aged model fabrics were used by all project partners to optimise analytical methodologies, establish parameters of damage and ascertain dye degradation profiles.

Reported by

The University of Manchester
School of Materials
United Kingdom