Tapestry is a form of textile art. It is woven by hand on a vertical loom. It is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. In this way, a colourful pattern or image is created. Most weavers use a naturally based warp thread such as linen or cotton. The weft threads are usually wool or cotton, but may include silk, gold, silver, or other alternatives. Both craftsmen and artists have produced tapestries. The 'blueprints' on cardboard (also known as 'tapestry cartoons') were made by artists of repute, while the tapestries themselves were produced by craftsmen.
The Studies in Western Tapestry web site is at the hub of worldwide tapestry research. It offers art historians, historians and all tapestry amateurs a survey of tapestry news and current tapestry research. It provides a critical tapestry bibliography and information on the scholarly series Studies in Western Tapestry published by Brepols Publishers (Turnhout/New York). The Studies in Western Tapestry web site is mastered by Guy Delmarcel (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Koenraad Brosens (F.W.O. Vlaanderen/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven).
The study of Western tapestry has been booming since the 1980s. Pioneering exhibition catalogues as well as important studies disclosing tapestry collections in both the USA and Europe were published. As a result, the nineteenth-century classification of tapestry as a mere branch of the applied or decorative arts has been proven inaccurate. Art historians now fully recognize that tapestry indeed ranks among the beaux-arts or the fine arts.
Studies in Western Tapestry presents a specific setting for tapestry studies. Thorough analyses of production centres, important tapestry sets, prolific tapestry designers, iconographic themes, and historical collections are published in this series. The studies focus on Western tapestry produced between c. 1400 and 1960.