A Tapestry Depicting the Five Senses

A Tapestry Depicting the Five Senses

about 1610
Barcheston Looms, English
Hand-woven wool
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust

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

height: 84 1/2 in, 214.63 cm; width: 65 1/4 in, 165.735 cm
European and American Art Before 1900
European Painting and Sculpture before 1900

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.

Known Provenance
The Huth Collection; L. Urquhart, Brasted Place, Sevenoaks, Kent, 1923; with S. Franses Ltd., London; from which acquired by William M. B. Berger and Bernadette Johnson Berger, Denver; Berger Collection Educational Trust; gifted to the Denver Art Museum, 2020. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum and we will post information as it becomes available. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.