Prosper Mérimée

Prosper Mérimée

The Fiasco with George Sand in 1833-34 was not the end of Mérimée's relationship with her. In 1841, he stumbled across the now-famous 6 Flemish tapestries known today as The Lady and the Unicorn (La Dame à la licorne) at Boussac castle in Limousin (shown below). The tapestries were decaying in storage and he enlisted Sand to create awareness so that they could be saved. She helped.

Photo: Michel mans

The tapestries were woven around 1500 and we do not know their original name. Wikipedia claims several of them can be seen hanging on the walls of the Gryffindor Common Room in the Harry Potter films. They are now on display in the Musée de Cluny (Musée du Moyen-Âge) in Paris.

Five of the tapestries show the senses but the sixth, shown below, is about the "sixth sense" of desire (À Mon Seul Désir). People have come to many conclusions about what it really means. She is holding a necklace - but is she picking it up or renouncing it? Or is that a false choice? Each one has a lady with a lion and a unicorn.


For Mérimée's Carmen, here, and for Lettres à une inconnue, here.