Coriolanus, King of the Volsci

This wonderful tapestry, restored thanks to the generosity of our Canada Chapter, is part of a series illustrating the stories of Coriolanus which is known as the cycle of Coriolanus. This tapestry was completed in Paris in the workshop of Faubourg Saint- Marcel at the beginning of the 17th century. The cycle of Coriolanus was based on drawings dating back to the 16th century, between 1570 and 1590.

The subjects were inspired by the Lives of Plutarch, precisely by the French translation by Amyot in 1559. DSC_3205The Vatican Museums tapestry represents the left hand side of a larger work which originally belonged  to the National Mobilier of Paris and shows Coriolanus asking hospitality from the king of Volscian, Tullius Aufidio.  The original tapestry was a scene divided into two parts by a column and a wall: on one side there was the inside of an elegant room with a large Renaissance fireplace and on the side of this large fireplace is seated Tullius Aufidio receiving Coriolanus. The other side of the tapestry is the portion presented in this Wishbook for restoration: in the foreground there are two soldiers, one of them is Coriolanus, and a group of people is watching the scene.  A Renaissance architectural balcony and a large marble floor is represented in the background.

Before its restoration, the tapestry appeared to be in a good state of preservation, but the entire surface was covered with a significant layer of dust, there were a number of places where texture had been lost, Schermata 2015-10-09 alle 09.35.05particularly in the central part (areas CD3-­‐5), and in the lateral sections. In regards to color, in those colors matching the brown there has been a considerable loss of wool, whereas in the light colors the yarn lost was silk (areas A1-­‐10, E1-­‐10). There were many previous restorations, where many deadlifts were unstitched, some of which were very precarious; in some cases the most visible sagging had already been sewn in previous restorations or preservation. The article along the selvedge parts bended in result, and in fact this was partially visible. Along the perimeter of the frame restorations performed by brush with varnish colors were visible. In the area E1, a total lack of blue selvedge was observed. At present, there was also some coarse mending (areas A1 to E1; from A10 to E10; A11-­‐E11). There has been very obvious desaturation of the color in the areas B3, B4, C2, D2, and in the vicinity of Coriolanus’s arm there is a noticeable crease. On the corners of the selvedge there were holes that were obviously caused by the use of nails. The tapestry has a linen lining that covered only the perimeter portion of the work leaving the central one uncovered. Thias has caused numerous tensions over the entire surface. At the corners of the lining five stamps were found with the initials SDF.

The central scene: The tapestry in question was positioned for the restoration of a new frame, which allows a homogeneous tension over the entire surface. The carried out restoration is the placement, where there are shortcomings of the plot, a support in linen color of the area to be restored, on which the warps were stopped by apoint type, sewn alternately. This tie-­‐off was carried out with yarn of wool or silk, depending on the lack of texture present in the area. So, in the area E1 there is a total lack of the blue selvedge. Action was taken using a connective cloth support, which was specially dyed.
The selvedges: they have been carefully restored by applying a connective support and linen.
The lining: the tapestry is lined with cotton fabric, previously prepared with a diamond pattern regular grid, which allows for a uniform distribution of weight. At the end of the lining, on the high side, a velcro strip has been placed, over which the tapestry will be hung. The five stamps found on the original liner were sewn for support and applied on the left side of the bottom of the tapestry after the completion of the restoration. To make them visible to scholars, the left corner of the cover was left with velcro sewn on the perimeter.