The museum keeps an important collection of tapestries dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. At that time, Brussels became the most dominant city in the production of tapestries. Generating significant economic activity for the city, our tapestries were exported to the four corners of Europe. Kings, emperors and popes had their tapestries woven in Brussels to adorn their various residences. No other city could match the level of sophistication of these woven masterpieces.
To make a tapestry, the weavers would rely on a “cartoon” which was used as a model. The museum holds one of these rare cartoons that has survived the test of time. Dating from the 16th century, this exceptional piece by Pieter Coecke represents the beheading of Saint Paul. Throughout history, generations of weavers have used this cartoon which consists of around sixty sheets of paper.
The museum also houses a tapestry woven from original cartoon made in 1678.