Is it an Antique Tapestry or a Replica?

Antique Tapestry or Replica?

You may be asking yourself what kinds of long-lost wonders you could find in a Persian rug gallery after watching a certain CBS special. The special, “Long-Lost King Henry VIII Tapestry Found in NYC Rug Gallery” covered the discovery of a tapestry believed to have belonged to King Henry VIII himself. Our very own Behnam Tavakolian gives his expert opinion on this news.

Behnam Rugs Tapestry CBS News
The tapestry believed to have belonged to King Henry VIII.

“I am not surprised to see a lost treasure has been found somewhere far away from its home and origin. Persian rugs, fine tapestries, and valuable textiles are often silently moved because they are easy to transfer. They are then hidden for years. It has happened once again; still, they hold their original value tremendously. The recent discovery of a long lost King Henry VIII tapestry in a Persian rug gallery in New York is no exception.”

“I have seen this often through the years of being in business. People bring in their family treasures, rugs, and tapestries for evaluation and restoration and are totally surprised when we tell them how old and how valuable some of their pieces are.”

One recent example is The Zucker family tapestry. Check out our blog post on that tapestry to see its transformation and restoration.

The process starts when a family member ask us to evaluate their grandparents’ rugs after inheriting it, and then request for us to properly take care of it. We appraise and restore hundreds of inherited rugs a year, and we always educate the rug owners on how to properly care for their family heirlooms, ensuring that their rugs also last generations.

Mr. Tavakolian’s personal opinion of this “long- lost tapestry”, after watching a video of it and seeing pictures, is that this tapestry is a replica. It has been copied from the original design, in material, size, color, and workmanship.

The market was flooded with tapestries during the 1980s to the early 2000s.  Persian rug importers, with the help of Persian Rug designers from Iran, went into China to utilize inexpensive labor and produced millions of reproductions of fine tapestries. French tapestry makers also made lots of replicas of original tapestries in the late 1800s to early 1900s in France.

This tapestry has to be over four hundred years old to have belonged to King Henry VIII.  Even if it was only stored, the materials, hand crafted from silk,  cotton, and wool, would have become more oxidized and very fragile due to their organic properties.  Still, this could be the King Henry VIII tapestry if it was kept in a controlled climate storage with the  temperature, airflow, and humidity all regulated. The best way to determine the age of any masterpiece is by performing a complete fiber test.

How did King Henry VIII’s tapestry from the palace of Hampton Court of England end up at the Persian Rug Gallery in New York? You never know, maybe someone dropped it off for repairs and never picked it back up!

Last Updated: 26 August 2017