During the Gothic period, a millefleurs background for a tapestry was considered the height of fashion and sophistication. Tapestries of this time sparkle with a profusion of blossoms. Often amazingly intricate, these flower backgrounds provide the perfect foil for scenes depicting late Medieval hunts and courtly love.
Perhaps the best examples of millefleurs backgrounds can be found in the so-called Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame a la Licorne) tapestries. This group of tapestries features an enchanting combination of deep red ground strewn with an abundance of flowers.
Although the precise origin of the millefleurs motif is open to speculation, one possible suggestion is that this technique was an attempt to preserve year round images of fleeting flowers. Speculation aside, the thousand flowers style clearly continues to delight viewers, even after all of these centuries.
Return to Art Speak in Medieval Art