Page last updated at 23:21 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 00:21 UK

Henry VIII's tapestries on show

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Experts reveal how the Tudor tapestry has been restored 'virtually'

An exhibition using digital technology to restore the colours of a 500-year-old tapestry is set to open in London.

Light beams will allow visitors to see the vibrant colours originally woven into the fabrics at the Henry VIII's Tapestries Revealed exhibition.

It has taken six years of research to 'virtually restore' the faded threads for the Hampton Court Palace show.

The exhibition opens on Friday and is part of a range to mark 500 years since the accession of the 16th Century king.

Light beams bring out the original colours of the 500-year-old tapestry

The tapestry is part of the Story of Abraham Series which was woven to celebrate the birth of Henry VIII's son.

Researchers from the University of Manchester and Historic Royal Palaces spent years calculating how much colour had faded from its fibres.

The delicate nature of the fabric means the calibrated beams of light can only be used in five short bursts a day.

Kathryn Hallett, from the Historic Royal Palaces, said: "This project, the first ever 'virtual restoration' of a tapestry, will show how these magnificent works of art would have dazzled visitors to Henry VIII's Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace 500 years ago."

The piece originally cost £2,000 in 1537 and took three years to be completed by master craftsmen who made cloths from wool and silk, interlaced with gold and silver thread.

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