I spent most of yesterday at the Art Gallery of New South Wales looking at the superb Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, dating back to c 1500 and usually housed in the Musee de Cluny – Musee National du Moyen Age in Paris – where I first saw them quite a few years ago. I remembered them as being absolutely exquisite and wanted to see them again – but this time there was a difference. The Gallery has curated a really wonderful exhibition, with a spacious room to house all six of these mysterious and beautiful tapestries.in the round, so that you can wander from one to the next, up close looking at the colours, the stitching, the expressions on the lady’s and animals’ faces, the beautiful millefleur (thousand flowers that make up the background) and ponder the allegory of each one, or you can sit on benches in the middle of them all and move slowly around to gaze on each one from a little distance.  I was lucky to be there during the lunch hour when it was not nearly so busy and I could sit in peace and just wonder and ponder. But there’s also a heap of information to read about them all outside the exhibition room in the centre, with signs on the walls giving the history and the most common interpretation of the tapestries (that they represent the five senses plus the mysterious sixth one (mon seul desir or my sole desire.) Also not to be missed is the excellent 25-minute video giving some background to these tapestries’ provenance and how they’re made in the context of weaving in medieval / Renaissance time. The exhibition is on until the 24th June – and it is wonderful!

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