Tale of the tapestry | Monmouthshire Beacon
What an evocative word is “tapestry”.
One can hopefully recall the rich and varied tapestry of his life or perhaps remember one of the most famous of all tapestries, made in Bayeux and telling the story of the conquest of England. by Guillaume Duke of Normandy in 1066.
My wife Jenny and I made a diversion in this historic French town shortly after acquiring our holiday home in the picturesque village of Lassay Les Chateaux, set in a fold of low hills in the Pays de la Loire region to the north from France.
But looking at the astonishing 70 meter long embroidered piece of art, we could never have imagined that before the end of this most memorable summer of 2008, we would fall in love with our own tapestry.
We first arrived in Lassay to stay with friends, who had acquired their vacation home in the village a few years earlier, and by the end of the week we had purchased a three story townhouse in a small alley just behind the square, plus a barn and garden nearby.
An elderly villager had lived on the property all her life and her mother before her and so she was in a terrible state of neglect, there was even an old wood stove in the kitchen!
It took us three weeks of hard work to take the property apart, there was even tower and plaster behind the faded wallpaper in the stairwell, then three years of hard work to turn it into a lovely vacation home .
When it came to furnishing our new home, help was at hand thanks to Vide Greniers.
These are annual street sales held in towns and villages across France, allowing people to clear their attics and attics of unwanted items, a treasure for those looking to furnish a completely empty house in the local style.
Visiting these sales, including ours organized in Lassay during the National Day, as well as Brocante’s, the English equivalent of flea markets or antique shops, during our days off was also the perfect opportunity for us to discover and get to know the surroundings.
But our tapestry, and some other wonderful treasures, were acquired much closer to home in Lassay and in another completely unexpected way.
“As we strolled through the village with its typical square, gardens and a magnificent lakeside chateau, the oldest continuously inhabited in France, we couldn’t help but notice a beautiful old four-storey house for sale .
It had balcony windows and was clearly built for someone wealthy and influential in the city over the centuries and we booked a visit on impulse and when the officer unlocked the large front door, we have gone back in time.
There was a large central hallway with a magnificent grand staircase and to our surprise most of the rooms were still richly furnished as if the previous occupant had just left one day.
The agent confirmed that the elderly owner had indeed moved to another part of the country and would not be returning, so we asked if any of the furniture might indeed be for sale.
He suggested that if we wanted to take pictures of the items we were interested in, he would send them to the owner and wait for his response.
So where the hell do you start? We wandered from room to room with magpie eyes landing on a host of art objects and picked out some gorgeous large blue porcelain jugs and other smaller items.
There were also tapestry-shaped wall hangings throughout and a particularly bright and colorful one caught our eye.
We gave the agent photos and a list of the items, including the tapestry, and to our surprise and delight, the lady came back with the prices for the pieces she was willing to part with.
We then gathered our treasures and gave them pride of place around our recently restored vacation home, but unfortunately our tapestry, measuring 230cm by 230cm, was just too large for its intended setting and there is no had nowhere else she could go.
So we bought it from us as there was a place in our cottage, we thought it might fit but again we were disappointed so instead of enjoying the daylight it was folded into a closet until recently.
Covid lockdowns and heavy travel restrictions put a definitive end to our thirteen-year French-owned odyssey and our vacation home was sold last fall to a lady who moved from Paris.
Valuable memories of that time now live on in the favorite things we packed and delivered home in Wales, but when it comes to our tapestry, we decided it was really time to say goodbye to her She will to be auctioned off at Clevedon Salerooms in North Somerset on January 6, 2022, I hope someone somewhere falls in love with it, as we once did, and allows it to see the light of day once more. (www.Clevedonsalerooms.com)
When Monmouthshire travel writer Nigel Heath and his wife Jenny sold their French holiday home due to Covid, it closed the final chapter in their tapestry story
add a comment