Return to Town Hall page

Tapestries formally in Bridgwater Town Hall



Details taken from Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset, Vol 23, (1942)


The Corporation of Bridgwater owns certain tapestries which were formerly in the collection of the 4th Earl of Egmont at Enmore Castle. They are believed to have been sold in 1833 at the same time as the Enmore estate.

Mr. H.C. Marillier, the well known consultant adviser on tapestries, examined these panels a short time ago. He has given permission for the following particulars to be put together from his notes.

The tapestries are three in number, upright in shape, and formed part of a late sixteenth or early seventeenth century history of Alexander. Probably they were woven at Brussels, but any marks there may be on the selvedge are hidden behind mouldings. It is possible that the tapestries should be attributed to Martin Raymbouts or Cornelius Berserts, both of whom produced very similar sets of the history of either Scipio or Alexander, with inscriptions in the name form and borders of the same type.


tapestry1
Tapestry 1
photographed in 1969

Alexander placing a robe over the body of Darius.
Alexander is shown in the centre with spearmen around him. Below is a youth, holding an embossed shield. The horse is to the right. The borders are complete and the inscription reads: Darium caesum lucet Alexander ac proprio mantel tegit.
tapestry2
Tapestry 2
photographed in 1969

The Youthful Alexander Bidding Farewell to his Father, Philip, and preparing to ride Bucephalus
Philip wears a spiked crown, and is surrounded by a group of soldiers and other figures. The boy, advancing towards him, holds Bucephalus by the reins. The border is wide and showy: it has large sea horses in the lower corners, a strapwork medallion in the centre of the side, and a blue cabochon at the top. The inscription is at the base in a long strapwork cartouche, flanked by cupids and reads: Alexander valedicit patrie Phillippo ac avingit se ad equitandum Bucephalum. Avingit would seem to stand for accingit. The use of as is found in the inscription on a similar tapestry. This panel is cut and lacks the left side.
tapestry3
Tapestry 3
Photographed in 1969

Only a portion of the subject survives, and there is no inscription although there is a complete border. The scene represents a seated group of an old man looking anxiously, and a woman comforting her child, possibly the family of Darius, in which case the panel may have belonged to the first piece.