The Unicorn in Captivity Dresser – SOLD


Antique Dresser featuring The Unicorn in Captivity.

Out of stock


I’m not sure how I found this image originally, but it took my breath away. When I read the story behind the image, I quite honestly fell in love.

The image is of a Renaissance tapestry called ‘The Unicorn in Captivity’. Here’s a description of it (courtesy of The Met Museum) “The seven individual hangings known as “The Unicorn Tapestries,” are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn. “The Unicorn in Captivity” may have been created as a single image rather than part of a series. In this instance, the unicorn probably represents the beloved tamed. He is tethered to a tree and constrained by a fence, but the chain is not secure and the fence is low enough to leap over: The unicorn could escape if he wished. Clearly, however, his confinement is a happy one, to which the ripe, seed-laden pomegranates in the tree–a medieval symbol of fertility and marriage–testify. The red stains on his flank do not appear to be blood, as there are no visible wounds like those in the hunting series; rather, they represent juice dripping from bursting pomegranates above. Many of the other plants represented here, such as wild orchid, bistort, and thistle, echo this theme of marriage and procreation: they were acclaimed in the Middle Ages as fertility aids for both men and women. Even the little frog, nestled among the violets at the lower right, was cited by medieval writers for its noisy mating”.

The tapestry is also filled with religious symbolism (which I adore). Historically, the unicorn has been used to represent Christ (and purity). It is believed that the only person who can capture the unicorn is a virgin (Mary). The last tapestry in the series shows the unicorn resurrected, after being hunted and killed. It’s a magical image.

Over the last few years, I’ve worked with the various tapestries on several pieces. While I love the images, I’m also acutely aware of the downfalls of overusing it. The images are special – and need to be treated as so; therefore I use great restraint when choosing my pieces. Each piece is completely unique – and should be consider one-of-a-kind. Given that the tapestry was made in 1500, I really wanted the dresser to have the old, worn, tarnished feel. The main body is a deep blue/green, with many layers of glazes to achieve an authentic patina. I pride myself on making pieces look authentically worn; therefore, I allow nicks and dings to show the tale of time – areas of missing veneer are left, unless they are unsightly. If you’re looking for a piece of furniture that has been ‘upcycled’ this may not be the piece for you. If you’re looking for an authentically worn piece, I think you’ve found it.

It’s a beautiful piece, with a fabulous image. Measurements are approx: 50″W x 22″D x 36″ H.

The price does NOT include shipping. The shipping price is just an estimate – obviously this will change depending on your location.

Local delivery from Portland, Oregon is available. If you require shipping, please send me your zip code, I’d be happy to find a reasonable shipping rate for you.

All sales are final, and payment must be finalized prior to shipping.

Thanks for stopping by!
Diane aka The Paint Factory


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