Saturday 10 March 2012

Norwegian Bed Carpets from the 1600s

I remember the first time I saw these bed carpets in the museum in Oslo, I was totally charmed. They are large and covered the walls in the whole room - absolutely wonderful to sit in the middle of the room and be surrounding by their glowing warm colours and simple geometries. This one above depicts a feast with the elite sitting down in the middle and women in attendance standing around - holding hands rather like those rows of cut-out dolls we used to make. The patterns on the women's dresses are all unique and keep your eyes busy forever.
The one above is very different, quartered with two angels winging above potted plants and surrounded by a deep stepped border.
Because they are woven, the distinctive geometry comes very much with the weaving technique that has been used.
Which is why I find the comparison with this superb early stitched piece of the Judgement of Solomon in the Micheál and Elizabeth Feller Collection quite intriguing. The figures, although having movement, have in terms of style and facial composition much more in common with the Norwegian works than with the French influence of the majority of other Stuart panels. Does any one know of any similar panels?


  1. Many thanks for the article and photo's. Years ago Kaffe Fassett designed a cardigan called the Foolish Virgins, I now know what inspired him. Perhaps he knows more about this subject. I love your blog, make samplers myself, but in book form.
    I shall send you some photo's

    Best regards,
    Joke van Soest, Leiden the Netherlands

  2. I'm glad you mentioned the Foolish Virgins, Joke, that is what I had thought also, but there never seems to be a consistent that puzzles me.

  3. these are beautiful and i could look at them for a long time. no wonder if they inspired a contemporary artist!they have inspired me as well. Is there a book or catalog where they appear?