Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Mastering the Fine Art of Tapestry" with Cresside Collette 3rd - 22nd September 2012

"Mastering the Fine Art of Tapestry"


Cresside Collette

3rd - 22nd September 2012

From London to Aubusson- a European adventure to discover the historical context and contemporary forms of this rich, tactile medium and participate in a hands on learning experience of this timeless art.

You will see the sublime high points of Mediaeval craftsmanship embodied in the 15th C. suites of The Devonshire Hunts, the Lady and the Unicorn and the Apocalypse of Angers.

At the Stirling Castle studio in Scotland you will witness the re-weaving of the Hunt of the Unicorn, an amazing exercise in reproducing art of the Middle Ages in a modern context.

A visit to the V & A in London will reveal the magnificence of the Raphael cartoons for the famous suite of Classical tapestries designed for Pope Leo X in 1515, and time will be spent in the new Mediaeval and Renaissance galleries. You will visit the private studios of contemporary tapestry artists working in London and Edinburgh, and the famed Royal Gobelins Workshop in Paris.

This exciting study tour will be rounded off with a four day workshop at the Manoir du Bost in the heart of France to learn tapestry technique first hand. Conducted by Cresside Collette, tapestry artist, scholar and teacher, it will include day trips to nearby Aubusson, the beautiful French town that is synonymous with this craft.

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Scenes and details from The Devonshire Hunts

LONDON, 3 days

DAY 1 Monday September 3rd

Check into Indigo Paddington Hotel.

Visit to The Victoria and Albert Museum  in South Kensington. Highlights will include viewing the 15thC tapestry suite, the Devonshire Hunts, Raphael's cartoons for the Acts of the Apostles, and the Mediaeval and Renaissance galleries.

The new Fashion galleries will also be open and special exhibitions include "Hollywood Costume" and "British glamour since 1950".

DAY 2 Tuesday September 4th

Visits to Contemporary tapestry artists' studios.

An opportunity to converse with artists who currently work in this medium and see how they adapt it to meet their artistic concerns.

Anna Ray

William Jefferies

DAY 3 Wednesday September 5th

A short train ride to spend the day at Hampton Court Palace, where the collection includes The Story of Abraham, the Renaissance tapestries commissioned by Henry VIII.



Visit with William Jefferies


DAY 4 Thursday September 6th

Train to Edinburgh, check into Apex Waterloo Hotel

DAY 5 Friday September 7th

Morning visit to Dovecot Studios (Edinburgh Tapestry Company) and 100th Anniversary exhibition. The Dovecot Studios was established in 1912 under the patronage of the Marquess of Bute and originally located in Costorphine, a suburb of Edinburgh. Its internationally renowned director in the 1960s and 70s was Archie Brennan, who brought the methods of weaving tapestry into the 20thC. and whose ideas served as a model for the establishment of the Victorian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne in 1976.

In 2001 the Dovecot Studios moved to their beautiful new premises, the former Baths in Infirmary Street. This year they celebrate their 100th anniversary with a spectacular retrospective exhibition.

Afternoon visits to Artists' studios. The Tapestry course at the Edinburgh College of Art gave rise to the establishment of the artist/weaver and the proliferation of individual studio practice around the world. Many former graduates are based here and we will visit a group at the WASPS Studios and Linda Green.

DAY 6 Saturday September 8th

Train to Stirling. Visit to West Dean Studio at Stirling Castle to see the re- weaving of The Hunt of the Unicorn, and view the tapestry installation in the Queen's bedroom at St. James' Palace. This will be the last chance to see this suite being woven at Stirling as the 12 year project nears completion. The careful planning and execution of this "one off" exercise is a treat to behold.

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Dovecot Studios Detail from Hunt of the Unicorn

PARIS, 4 days

DAY 7 Sunday September 9th

Fly to Paris. Check into Hotel D'Albe on the Left Bank.

DAY 8 Monday September 10th

An easy walk to the Boulevard St. Michel brings us to the wonderful treasures of the Middle Ages housed in the Musee du Moyen Age. Amongst the suites of Mediaeval tapestries including The story of St. Stephen, The Offering of the Heart and Aristocratic Life, we will encounter the sublime La Dame a la Licorne suite set in its own oval room, a glowing testimony to the skills of the weavers.

A free afternoon follows to lunch and wander the Left Bank and the environs of the Seine.

DAY 9 Tuesday September 11th

An afternoon visit to The Gobelins Tapestry Workshop, the most important and long running workshop in the world, situated in the 13th arondissement. The Manufacture des Gobelins was founded as a dye works in the mid-15th century by Jean Gobelin. In 1662, Louis XIV purchased the Gobelins manufactory and there minister Colbert united all the royal artisans, creating a royal tapestry and furniture works. The Gobelins was temporarily closed from 1694 to 1697, after which the workshop specialised in tapestry.

DAY 10 Wednesday September 12th

A morning at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs enjoying the best of the decorative arts, from Mediaeval to Modern. Walk across the manicured gardens to the courtyard of the Louvre and marvel at the art or stroll in the adjoining Tuileries to fill in the afternoon.

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Musee du Moyen Age Musee des Arts Decoratifs

ANGERS, 2 days

DAY 11 Thursday September 13th

Train to Angers.

This historic town in the Loire Valley yields one of the most exciting experiences of the tour, viewing the 100 metre long 14th C. Apocalypse tapestry, the Book of Revelations made visible. Housed in the fortress chateau it is an overwhelming sight.

Afternoon visit to the Cathedral that houses the Mediaeval Story of Saint Maurille. Woven

in 1378 - 81 for the Cathedral, the designs were drawn by Jean Bondol based on illuminated manuscripts, and the weaving was overseen by Nicolas Bataille whose workshops also produced the Apocalypse.

DAY 12 Friday September 14th

A morning visit to the Chateau to see the Apocalypse and explore the many delights of the garden and buildings. Lunch at the open air cafĂ© and then a stroll along the river to see Lurcat's answer to the magnificent Apocalypse, his Song of the World suite of ten tapestries woven from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s reflecting on the atom bomb, the Apocalyptic event of the 20thC.

They are displayed in the heritage 12thC. St. John's Hospital, adjoined by the Museum Jean Lurcat  that exhibits contemporary tapestry.

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Chateau D'Angers L'Apocalypse

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DAY 13 Saturday September 15th

Drive through the Loire Valley to Le Manoir du bost

A week's accommodation in this splendid, secluded manor house in central France offers a unique opportunity to learn the basics of Tapestry Weaving and develop a real understanding of its brilliant technique. Beginners will learn to set up a tapestry frame and weave basic shapes. More advanced students will be encouraged to experiment with Mediaeval tapestry techniques such as hatching to achieve colour gradations, and to adapt them to a contemporary style.

All materials and looms provided.


Le Manoir du Bost

DAY 14 Sunday September 16th

Workshop commences

Full day

DAY 15 Monday September 17th

Full day workshop

DAY 16 Tuesday September 18th

Day visit to Aubusson.

Located a twenty minute ride from the Manoir, this pretty town in the heart of France has existed on its weaving industry since the 14thC. Under the guidance of Susanne Bouret, conservator of textiles and local resident, we will stroll its streets and visit the individual Ateliers open to the public as well as visiting more formal centres such as the Musee de la Tapisserie.

France Odile Perrin-Crinere and Martine Stamm run studio Atelier A2.

Thierry Roger is the last traditional dyer of yarn in Aubusson.

Bernard Battu's private studio weaves large and imaginative contemporary tapestries.

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Aubusson Atelier A2, France Odile Perrin- Crinere

DAY 17 Wednesday September 19th

Full day workshop

DAY 18 Thursday September 20th

Full day workshop

DAY 19 Friday September 21st

Day trip to Felletin and Aubusson.

We will travel to Felletin, a small town 10 km. from Aubusson to view the historic workshop of Ateliers Pinton,  one of two remaining manufacturers that employs teams of weavers to make tapestries and also produces rugs.

A lively street market operates on Friday mornings, so we plan a picnic lunch.

Return to Aubusson to view the atelier of Patrick Guillot, master weaver who is working on commissions for the collection of Cite International de la Tapisserie et de l'art tisse

Chantal Chirac restores tapestry cartoons and is building a cartoon museum for their display and preservation in a picturesque building on the Pont de la Terrade.

Conservation studio of Susanne Bouret, currently housed in a beautiful 19thC. building that was originally a tapestry and rug making workshop on the banks of the river in the heart of Aubusson.

DAY 20 Saturday September 22nd

Return to Paris by train from Limoges, end of tour.


En France, en plein air tapestry, 8 cm x 20 cm, Cresside Collette, 2011.


Date and length of tour: 20 days starting in London and finishing in Paris from September 3rd to 22nd, 2012.

Cost: $5,950.00 (AUD) for twin share, additional $1, 250.00 (AUD) for single room supplement.

Group size: 6 minimum, 10 maximum.


Tour price includes:

All accommodation

All breakfasts

All museum and gallery entry charges

All meals at the Manoir du Bost

All taxis and transfers

London transport Pass

1st class rail from London King's Cross to Edinburgh

Return rail ticket from Edinburgh - Stirling

Minivan transfer to Edinburgh airport

Air France flight from Edinburgh to Paris

Minivan transfer from Paris Charles de Gaulle to hotel

Paris Visite Pass-5 day/ zones 1- 3 Metro pass

Paris Museum Pass - 3 day

Minivan transfer from Paris hotel to station

1st class rail from Paris to Angers

Private coach transfer from Angers to the Manoir du Bost

Two excursions to Aubusson and Felletin

Private coach transfer to Limoges station

1st class rail from Limoges to Paris

French speaking guide in Aubusson, Felletin

Tutored 4 day tapestry workshop with Cresside Collette

Loom hire and materials.

Tour price does not include:

Airfare to London and from Paris

Travel Insurance

Meals apart from breakfast, except at the Manoir

Lunch at Aubusson and Felletin (2 days)

Hotels mentioned in the itinerary are subject to availability and others of similar quality may be substituted.

This itinerary has been prepared with the assistance of Ian Jane at Bentleigh Travel who will be making all tour bookings.


Telephone: +61 3 9557 5898

Fax: +61 3 9557 4786

Shop 7, 271 - 275 Centre Road, P. O. Box 20, Bentleigh 3204, Victoria, Australia.

Email: ian@bentleightravel.com.au

Tour designed and authored by Cresside Collette, 2011, 2012.

Contact: cressidecollette@gmail.com


  1. Hi Deb, I did this trip last year. It was fabulous. We didn't go to Scotland, I would love to be able to go again this year. I highly recommend the trip, especially if you have already been overseas. We didn't do a lot of sightseeing that wasn't closely related to the tapestry so be prepared for that. But you have to go past some amazing places to get to the tapestries, so you do see other things. And Le Manoir is amazing.

  2. Hi Mary, the tour sounds fantastic and it would be wonderful to go but I am tied up here this year.


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