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The industry specialised in fine wool tapestries which were sold to decorate palaces and castles all over Europe.
Few of these tapestries survived the French Revolution as hundreds were burnt to recover the gold thread that was often woven into them.
Over time, the craft expanded to France and the Netherlands. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Arras, France was a thriving textile town.Kings and noblemen could roll up and transport tapestries from one residence to another.In churches, they were displayed on special occasions.The artists who chose tapestry as their medium developed a broad range of personal expression, styles and subject matter, stimulated and nourished by an international movement to revive and renew tapestry traditions from all over the world.Competing for commissions and expanding exhibition venues were essential factors in how artists defined and accomplished their goals.
In the 19th century, William Morris resurrected the art of tapestry-making in the medieval style at Merton Abbey. made successful series of tapestries for home and ecclesiastical uses, with figures based on cartoons by Edward Burne-Jones.