Showing posts with label liberty cap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label liberty cap. Show all posts

February 06, 2014


Set in a wooden frame. Circa 1860's.
As soon as I saw this gorgeous tapestry, I wanted to know more.  Because it was on the floor, near the desk of a museum guide, it was difficult to photograph properly.

The guide knew nothing about the tapestry, but that doesn't wash with the curious.  So I'll be writing, as I go along, an imaginative interpretation based on conjecture and a little research.

I think the men are French because the shirts they are wearing were first manufactured in France. The man on the right looks over his shoulder in a carefree pose. Reclining on plush (velvet) fabrics, or furs (sable ?) and dressed in fine embroidered breeches, complete with gold buckles at the knee and fancy shirt, points to wealth that may have been procured by "other means"--given the pistols and the dagger, and the gold medallion that are in full view in the ornate belt of the man, or they maybe the spoils of war. To the right, a cast off plumed military helmet.(?) The man's mauve cap resembles a revolutionary or liberty cap.  (Although his cap is not the customary red, nor is it tipped forward like the revolutionary cap of his companion.) Expensive to make, purple cloth symbolized royalty, wealth etc, so his cap may, in fact, point to new wealth, democratic freedom, and a stronger social status for the common "man" of the republic.

In the background, to the right, a large country estate with cultivated trees. ( The old rule?) The cultivated flowers fringed with a frill of grass and the ordinary trees, in the foreground, may point to less rigidity and a more relaxed equal, ordered state. Is that a hosta on the left, or a Rex begonia? Was a Rex begonia available then?  Might these plants symbolize new trade, etc.? ( Too much symbolic conjecture might be a dangerous thing!)

On the left, a servant (?) dressed in the revolutionary colours of red, white and blue. (He seems to be gathering up the blankets). The man on the right wears revolutionary colours too, but they are secondary.  In fact, he may have the French flag draped around his waist. I won't go further because the French symbol of liberty is a woman and she's an apt fit.

Before I began sleuthing, I knew nothing of the liberty cap, and, now, I think it might be fun to try and knit one.

I love the mens' shoes/sandals. They were fashionable and obviously worn for leisure.

 As you can see, I gathered up a few facts along the way that, of course, are not definitive. The man wearing the purple cap could symbolize the new relaxed hold of the monarchy/nobility, or the new republic. (Given the time line, I believe the scene fits with the second wave of the revolution.)  If you have any thoughts, other interpretations, ideas or suggestions, please leave a comment; I'd love to read them.

Enjoy the weekend...

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