A Tapestry Depicting the Five Senses
- Barcheston Looms, English
Sheldon Tapestry Workshop, Barcheston, Warwickshire, The Five Senses, About 1610. Colored wools, silk, and linen; 84 1/2 × 65 1/4 in. (214.6 ×165.7 cm). Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, 2020.8
Sheldon Tapestry Workshop, Barcheston, Warwickshire
The Five Senses, about 1610
Colored wools, silk, and linen
Promised Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, TL-18028
Hand-woven in northern England, near Birmingham. this tapestry represents the five senses set against a densely designed background of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. At the center, representing hearing, a woman plays the lute while her two companions hold musical scores. The other four senses are displayed in roundels: at upper left, representing sight, a woman holds a mirror; at upper right, representing taste, a woman and a monkey eat pieces of fruit; at lower left, representing touch, a woman has a small bird perched on her finger; and at lower right, representing smell, a woman holds a flower to her nose. The tapestry is thought to have been made not as a wall hanging but as a table cover. This would have allowed the four roundels, angled in the design, to appear “straight” as they hung from the corners of a table.