The Royal Manufacturers De Wit was founded in 1889. Yvan Maes De Wit, its present director, represents the fourth generation of tapestry restorers and dealers of fine antique tapestries.
The Royal Manufacturers cleans, conserves and restores tapestries. It is today’s the leading restorer of tapestries in the world for museums and one of the leading restorers for private customers.
The Royal Manufacturers De Wit is also an important international dealer, specialising in the sale and purchase of fine antique tapestries and is present at international Fairs.
The Royal Manufacturers is established in a historic building, the Refuge of Tongerlo Abbey in Mechelen, founded in 1484. It organises guided tours of its buildings, its exhibition rooms and its laboratories for the intention of individual visitors or groups.
As in the Middle Ages weavings are patiently handmade woven on loons of high warp in the respect of tradition which is the glamour of the tapestry of Tournai and that the weaving sheds are carrying on.
To produce their work the tapestry workers have at their disposal hundreds of different colours in wool tinted according to criteria of quality ( choice of the stable dying to light, processings, mothproof,...)
Sometimes other materials ( linen, silk, wools of different sizes,...) are used to produce special effects of surbrillance, relief,...
The Huis de Laiaing is a 17th century, Roccoco dwelling that acts as a textile centre and museum. As well as an exhibition of works by Oudenaarde artists, it houses a wall-hangings workshop where the production of Verdüren is taught. Old tapestries are restored here before being displayed in the Lakenhalle (Clothmaker's Hall) in the town hall.
Behind the house lies a beautiful garden graced by an ancient Ginkgo Biloba tree. Today it houses the workshop for the restoration of Oudenaarde tapestries and a studio specialised in the weaving of modern tapestries.