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Family Music

tapestry 
woven by MTP
150 x 100 cm 
1981

Notes on this work

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The Manufactura Tapeçarias Portalegre was bought into being in the 1930’s by Guy Fino whose aim was to produce the finest quality tapestries from original designs by artists.

 In 1981 Guy Fino approached Tom Phillips to make a tapestry of his pastel drawing Family Music (collection Channel 4 Television). Phillips had already made tapestries with the Ovahimba in Namibia and also Edinburgh Tapestry Company at Dovecot Studios, each of which had particular qualities. He discovered a different process when he worked on the design for the Tapeçarias of Portalegre.

“I made a large cartoon on paper textured like the grain of fabric, using pastel which already has some of the light-absorbing quality of dyed and woven wool. Plotted and transferred to the loom this was laboured on with such rigourous exactness by the amazing ladies of Portalegre that in the final product I can see not only the holes made by the drawing pins which had attached the drawing to my studio wall but even the faint ring of rust that had gathered round them.”