Tapestries

Among the chief ornaments of the Hall are the three eighteenth century Brussels tapestries commissioned for Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. 

Designed by Maximilian de Haese and woven in the workshop of Franz and Jacob van der Borght between 1771 and 1775, they are believed to have been one of the last sets woven before the declining industry was extinguished following the death of the last Van der Borght in 1794.  The cartoons for their design do not survive, nor are any duplicate series known.

The tapestries, which originally formed part of a set of five, tell the story of Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire.  The third and fourth tapestries in the series are now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Victoria and Albert Museum respectively. 

The set has an interesting provenance; before being split the tapestries were previously in the possession of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, whose assassination in 1914 sparked the First World War.

Wedding of Madane and Cambyses, The Cyrus Tapestries