Essential Information

Type Conferences
National Maritime Museum
Date and Times 12 January 2024
Prices Adults £30 | Members, online, students, unemployed or underemployed, retired, early career researchers £20

Members discount. Not a member? Join now

Weaving Waves

The History and Conservation of Maritime Tapestries

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, European tapestry centres grew in parallel with maritime nations. The same kings, nobles and governments who invested in tapestry and tapestry workshops were also investing in navies and trading companies. This dual interest led to maritime tapestry commissions which, while less common than other subjects, resulted in politically and culturally significant works of art.   

Maritime tapestries pose a particular set of challenges in their conservation and display within museums. As well as issues arising from size and weight, which affect all tapestries, the structural integrity of maritime tapestries is often further compromised by the expanses of fragile silk present in their depictions of water and sky. Their representation of real battle events also brings in issues of authenticity and the need to balance stability and accuracy in conservation work.  

Occasioned by the recent conservation of tapestries depicting the Battle of Solebay designed by the marine artists Willem van de Velde the Elder and Willem van de Velde the Younger, this symposium offers the first exploration of maritime tapestry as a genre.

The programme includes sessions on both the history and conservation of maritime tapestry, chaired by Helen Wyld and Ksynia Marko, as well as discussion on how historical research and conservation practices inform one another. Speakers include Zenzie Tinker, Koenraad Broesens, Caroline Van Santen, Stacey Clapperton, Sara Reiter, Alice Young and Maya Wassell Smith.   

This hybrid conference warmly invites people from all backgrounds to attend in person or online. If you have any questions about the programme, registration or accessibility, please email research@rmg.co.uk. Lunch and refreshments are provided. Attendees are also encouraged to enjoy the final days of the exhibition, The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea.

Solebay tapestry conservator close up with needle


Adults | £30

Members | £20

Online | £20 

Students, unemployed or underemployed, retired, early career researchers | £20

Tickets include access to the talks and recordings, an exclusive viewing of the Solebay Tapestry, refreshments and lunch.

Book your tickets here