VIDEO: Scaffolders hang Gideon tapestries at Hardwick

A team of scaffolders were called in to a Derbyshire stately home to oversee the re-hanging of two of the Gideon tapestries.

The 21-feet high Brussels tapestries at Hardwick Hall, woven in the 1500s, have returned from conservation.

Hardwick Hall hang two Gideon tapestries that are back from conservation

Hardwick Hall hang two Gideon tapestries that are back from conservation

They tell the Biblical story of Gideon and his victory over the Midianites and are the only complete set of this subject matter still hanging in the house for which they were purchased.

They would have taken the Flemish weavers 30 to 40 years to complete.

Nigel Wright, house and collections manager said: “The re-hang is a huge task involving two sets of scaffolding and a team of around 12 house staff and conservators.

“Having the chance to see the sheer scale of the Gideon’s re-hanging is truly a unique experience.”

For over 400 years the Gideon tapestries have been the crowning glory of Hardwick Hall.

Bess of Hardwick, one of the richest women in England at the time, bought them for £326.6s in 1592 and it has been suggested that the Long Gallery was built especially to house them.

Bess of Hardwick came from humble beginnings – she saw herself as an underdog like Gideon in the biblical story – but she had triumphed at court and grown rich and powerful through a succession of shrewd marriages.

Through donations and grant funding the hall has managed to conserve ten of the priceless tapestries in the collection.

Two have been cleaned using a specialist process to ensure the fabric is not damaged.

The National Trust has now launched a fundraisng drive to restore and save the remaining larger three tapestries which will cost £180,000 each to restore.

To support the Gideon appeal go to www.justgiving.com/HardwickGideons.