Even Jimmy Page, the Led Zeppelin guitarist who like God has many mansions, has finally run out of wall space. His gigantic Pre-Raphaelite tapestry, designed by Burne-Jones and woven at William Morris’s workshop, has been rolled up and in storage for years, and will now be sold by Sotheby’s, estimated at up to £1m.

It is over seven metres long, the climactic vision of the Holy Grail from what was originally a set of six monumental tapestries of scenes from Arthurian legend. Morris described them as “our largest and most important work”, and they took three weavers two years to complete. The tapestry was last seen in public at the V&A museum’s exhibition on William Morris, when Page was between houses: he sold the Windsor mansion where it hung in the billiard room, then bought the house back again, and has now sold it again. He also owns the eccentric 13th century-style Tower House in Kensington, designed by William Burges, but has apparently run out of space there too.

He has now bought another Thames Valley mansion, designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens with a Gertrude Jekyll garden, but as his friend and art dealer Paul Reeves explained yesterday, that has wood-panelled walls – so he couldn’t possibly hang the tapestry.

The tapestry has only been sold twice before, on both occasions by Sotheby’s, once by the heirs of the original owner, and then when Page bought it from the heirs of the Duke of Westminster.


Via Arbroath