A very young Margaret with pigtails working on the tapestry restoration.
After the completion of her study in textile art at the Art Academy of Amsterdam and a period of teaching at a high school, Margaret had in 1967 the opportunity to start work at the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, at the museum’s atelier for the restoration of medieval tapestries.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
The restoration of goblins is very time consuming. Margaret worked at this atelier for two years with three colleagues and it was her task to partly restore a badly damaged tapestry designed by Francois Spiering and manufactured in the 16th century in the Dutch town of Delft.
The tapestry was called, “L. Aristo Orlando Furioso” and depicted three scenes from a book written by the poet Francesco Franceschi which was published in 1565. Spiering had arrived in Delft in 1591 and became a member of the Guild in 1613. In that same year the States General contracted him to produce a series of grand tapestries for the sum of 16,933 guilders. The tapestry mentioned above was one of them. The tapestry’s warp is cotton and the weft consists of wool and silk.
Before Margaret was allowed to touch the tapestry, she had to weave a mini tapestry in the same way and with the same materials as the large tapestry had been woven (7 threads per centimetre). Margaret’s biggest surprise always was to see the original and unbleached colours at the back of tapestries that at first glance looked rather dull. For the restoration threads were used stronger in colour than required to bring more life into the tapestry. It took the atelier 5 years to restore this tapestry.
This is a closeup of the section of the tapestry worked on by Margaret.