A TEAM of scaffolders were called in to a National Trust property to oversee the re-hanging of two of the Gideon tapestries, recently returned from conservation.
The 21-feet high Brussels tapestries at Hardwick Hall near Chesterfield, woven in the 1500s, tell the Biblical story of Gideon and his victory over the Midianites.
They are the only complete set of this subject matter still hanging in the house for which they were purchased. They would have taken the Flemish weavers 30 to 40 years to complete.
Nigel Wright, House and Collections Manager, said: “The re-hang is a huge task involving two sets of scaffolding and a team of around twelve house staff and conservators.”
For over 400 years the Gideon tapestries have been the crowning glory of Hardwick Hall. Bess of Hardwick, one of the richest women in England at the time, bought them for £326.6s whilst in London in 1592 and it has been suggested that the Long Gallery was built in the proportions we see today, especially to house them. Bess of Hardwick came from humble beginnings – she saw herself as an underdog like Gideon in the biblical story – but she had triumphed at court and grown rich and powerful through a succession of shrewd marriages.