Castle Object of the Month: Months and Seasons Tapestry

Castle, History

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The Months and Seasons Tapestry located in the Dining Hall, dates back to 1550. At 11ft 8ins high and 23ft 6ins wide, it spans almost the entire width of the Dining Hall and was made in Brussels. The tapestry was bought by William Waldorf Astor at an auction in Paris in 1903.

Tapestries mainly provided a form of insulation but were also a form of decoration which could be easily transported. They were also used as a way to broadcast the wealth and might of powerful secular and religious rulers. It became popular for tapestries to tell their narratives over a number of pieces and this tapestry is from one of these sets.

This tapestry represents August from a set of the months, and it depicts the hunt scene from the Greek myth of Diana and Actaeon. It tells the unfortunate fate of a young hunter named Actaeon, who disturbs Diana, goddess of the hunt, as she is enjoying a bath in a spring. Diana is so furious that she turns Actaeon into a Deer. As Actaeon could no longer speak, he flees the scene, but is ultimately killed by his own hounds, who couldn’t recognise their master. It also has images of falconry, ploughing and sowing with a cloud borne figure of Ceres holding a sickle in the sky above to the right.

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Read more about the history of Hever Castle.

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