Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: The Tapestry Room


As mentioned last week, I attended a private tour at the Gardner Museum in Boston with several design bloggers. The best part is that we were allowed to take photos (no flash!) as long as we were with the museum staff members. Last week I shared images of the famous courtyard from various vantage points. This post will focus on the Tapestry Room, which is very large and very dark. It’s fabulous. These pics were taken with my iPad, by the way.

There are two big focal points in this room – the fireplace and the tapestries. Showing Mrs. Gardner’s truly international viewpoint, elements in this space come from all over the world. The first focus in the room is the enormous stone fireplace that comes from France. It’s so big that it was impossible for me to capture it in one image! In the above photo, you will see the shadows of someone’s head standing in front of the fireplace that’s how tall it is.

Here’s a close up of the center piece of the mantel which shows carves angels, fleur-de-lys motif, court jesters, griffins, and more.


Over the mantle: The Archangel Michael by Pedro Garcia de Benabarre, 1455-1480

Details of the carving in the stone mantle.


The restored floor, that had been hidden under years of gunge and black paint.

The gorgeous 16th century tapestries are going to be sent back to Belgium for restoration soon.

More about the Tapestry Room here.

All above photos by Linda Merrill

Below are photos taken in 1926, TE Marr & Sons, via WBUR.

And a photo from early 2012, showing the renovated space, returning it to its former glory. Photo WBUR/Jesse Costa.

Coming soon, the new Renzo Piano Wing!

xoxo Linda

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