Royal Museums Greenwich’s crowdfunding campaign saves the largest tapestry in its collection

A museum in Greenwich has raised enough money to save the largest tapestry in its collection.

The Burning of the Royal James at the Battle of Solebay, 28 May 1672, is the only remaining Solebay Tapestry in the collection at the Queen’s House, Greenwich, where the original cartoons were first imagined.

It was designed by father and son team, Willem Van de Velde the Elder and Younger and will be one of the key objects in the 2023 exhibition marking 350 years since the Van de Veldes’ arrival in England, opening in February 2023.

The Burning of the Royal James at the Battle of Solebay, 28 May 1672

The Burning of the Royal James was commissioned by Charles II and James, Duke of York, as part of a series to commemorate the Battle of Solebay, a naval battle fought off the coast of Suffolk on 28 May 1672.

The tapestry depicts the dramatic climax of the battle as The Royal James ship is engulfed in flames having been set alight by Dutch fireships.

But the tapestry is now in such a fragile condition that it has been unable to be displayed for 22 years.

The Burning of the Royal James at the Battle of Solebay, 28 May 1672

Fading dyes and light damage to the silk and wool have muted the originally vibrant colours.

It is in urgent need of conservation if it is to be ready for the 2023 exhibition, where it will go on display in the King’s Presence Chamber at the Queen’s House.

Royal Museums Greenwich’s crowdfunding campaign through Art Happens with Art Fund raised almost £17,000 towards the conservation of the artwork in the two days of it being launched, which is enough to fund the restoration.

 

 

Images: credit - Zenzie Tinker Conservation Ltd

 

 

 


 

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