Katharine Ghuys, the Widow Guillaume Werniers

Datesdied 1778, active from 1738

By the mid-1600s, French tapestry manufacturers began challenging the long-standing dominance of the Flemish industry. After King Louis XIV's conquest of Lille in 1667, this prosperous Northern city became an important center of French tapestry production. But many of its entrepreneurs emigrated from Flanders. In 1688, the weaver Jean de Melter established a workshop in Lille. De Melter was succeeded by his son-in-law Guillaume Werniers in 1701. After Wernier's death in 1738, his widow Katharine Ghuys Werniers, known as the Widow Guillaume Werniers, continued the business.

At the time of his death, Guillaume Werniers's workshop numbered more than twenty looms. His widow maintained this level of activity and, like her husband, produced many Tenières tapestries. Inspired by the imagery of Flemish artists David Teniers the Younger and his son David III, this extremely popular genre of wall hanging featured idealized views of nature with peasants at work or at play. The enterprising Widow Werniers managed the workshop for forty years after her husband's death.