Therese Makes a Tapestry.
Therese Makes a Tapestry
Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs, author
Renee Graef, illustrator
The J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049
9781606064733, $19.95, www.getty.edu/publications
Issued in concordance with the Getty Center's Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV Exhibit, "Therese Makes a Tapestry" is a fascinating fictional juvenile biography of a young girl who is a gifted weaver of a secret tapestry she creates as a gift for her father. Written for readers ages 6-10, "Therese Makes a Tapestry" is filled with narrative detail and lively artistic illustrations of the setting in 17th Century Paris, in the well known Gobelin Manufactory, which created tapestries for the king's palaces. Therese's father is a famous royal artist who must travel to make commissioned paintings and art works for the king. One day on a much anticipated visit home, Therese's Papa gave her a beautiful painting he had made of a scene of a palace in winter, decorated with musical instruments, winter fruits, and exotic birds from the king's menagerie. At the Gobelin, Therese was allowed to spin colored wool yarns on her devidoir with her mother. Women were not commonly allowed to be weavers of tapestries. Therese excitedly told her mother of her dream to create a woven tapestry of the painting her father had given her. She was allowed to begin the daunting project, collecting remnants and extra wool skeins in the factory's dye works. Therese even persuaded her scornful older brother Henri to make a cartoon, a large copy of their Papa's painting to help her make her tapestry. The complex process of Therese creating her tapestry is intricately described and illustrated. Slowly Therese's tapestry brought her Papa's painting to life. Her Maman was so impressed she gave her whole days to work on the tapestry. Needing some special silver thread for her tapestry's border, Therese persuaded a Gobelins metalsmith to trade her some silver thread for vegetables from her garden. Therese's Papa was due to visit the Gobelins Manufactory soon with the King Louis XIV. Somehow, Therese's small tapestry was displayed among other larger works for the King's viewing pleasure and the work caught his eye. The King declared his approval of the small tapestry, saying it reminded him of his Chateau Monceaux. Afraid of losing her tapestry gift for her father, Therese was astounded to hear her brother Mathieu suggest that they would offer to create a much larger tapestry copied from the small one, fit for royal display in the King's new palace at Versailles. A happy ending to the story promises Therese a future filled with weaving, a skill she dreamed of perfecting. A Note the Reader, Glossary and list of French words and phrases completes the lovely volume, based on a real surviving art tapestry, "Therese Makes a Tapestry."