I was lucky enough to be able to join a tapestry tour of France with Cresside Collette in May. Fittingly, the first place we visited was the Musée de Moyen Age* in Paris to see The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries (La Dame a la licorne). Unfortunately most of the museum was closed for renovations and I was disappointed we couldn’t see the Life of St. Stephen tapestry. But I was grateful that the Unicorn tapestries were on display and suspect they are a major draw for this museum. They are displayed in a one large room. Each of the six tapestries is between about 3.5 and 4.5 meters square.
There are six known tapestries in this series. They were probably woven around 1500 and were discovered in the mid-19th century in the château de Boussac in central France. They were in poor condition and the Musée de Moyen Age (the Cluny) purchased them in 1882. The tapestries were commissioned by the Le Viste family whose coat of arms is seen in each of the tapestries. A set of tapestries as fine as these would have cost a literal fortune and only someone with great wealth could have afforded them.