(b London, 1714; d Paris, 3 March 1788). French weaver of English birth. Neilson joined the Gobelins tapestry Factory in April 1728, where he concentrated on the high-warp weaving technique in the workshop of Jean Jans the younger. In 1743 he left the Gobelins to devote himself to painting, but returned in August 1749 as director of one of the two low-warp workshops. In 1751 the two low-warp workshops were amalgamated under the sole direction of Neilson, who then applied himself to perfecting the low-warp technique. From 1750 he had begun to practise a technique in which the outlines of the designs were traced on to strips of wax-paper that were then placed underneath the warp, enabling tapestries to be produced from the original designs. This was a method of avoiding the inversion of design that normally occurred in the low-warp technique. Another highly significant advantage resulting from this technique was the lack of deterioration of the design cartoons, which had previously been cut into strips and placed underneath the warp. Henceforth the cartoons remained intact and could be kept alongside the weaver during the entire weaving process, thus allowing constant verification of the design.
From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.