One of the world’s longest tapestries, which has been described as a “medieval cartoon strip” bursting with Scottish history, is now on display at the Scottish Parliament.
The Prestonpans Tapestry tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s journey from exile to victory on the battlefield in 1745 against the Redcoat British army. It will be on display for free until 20 July 2017.
As well as illustrating gory details from the battlefield, the Tapestry touches on all aspects of the social lives of those in 1745 Scotland including the wigs, patterned hose and garters worn by Redcoat and Jacobite soldiers which show the changing fashions at the time.
As part of free family-themed events on 1 and 8 July, visitors can meet the star of the Tapestry Bonnie Prince Charlie. Families can also root through the Jacobite and Redcoat wardrobe to dress up as soldiers or clansmen and women, as well as handling weapons and objects from 1745.
Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame MSP, who launched the exhibition today, said:
“Behind every panel in the Tapestry, there is not only a historical tale to tell but there’s also the inspirational story of the community of women and men of all ages who came together to create each and every panel.
“The Tapestry took an eye-watering 25,000 hours to carefully handcraft and includes 10 million individual stitches. So, as well as following in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite clans across Scotland, it’s also worth discovering more about the passionate and creative community of stitchers who brought this story to life.
“We’re honoured to display The Prestonpans Tapestry for free at the Scottish Parliament and we hope families, and visitors of all ages, will take the opportunity to see the work of art for themselves.”
The artist Andrew Crummy, who also created The Great Tapestry of Scotland, worked with a community of 200 stitchers in Scotland, France, Australia and the USA to illustrate the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.
Andrew Crummy said: "It is truly an honour to have The Prestonpans Tapestry displayed in the Scottish Parliament. As a community arts project, it illustrates what happens when many people come together and use their creativity to create a large scale artwork.
“In particular, it’s great to celebrate the creativity of the many women who played their part in this Tapestry with their amazing embroidery skills."
The exhibition will run from 21 June – 20 July 2017 and entry is FREE.
Find out more about the story of The Prestonpans Tapestry.
There are two Family Days on Saturday 1 and Saturday 8 July 2017 from 10am – 4pm. The programme of activities is below.
- Storytelling with dressing up - Visitors will re-live the times of the Jacobites and the Redcoats through the power of storytelling and dressing up.
- Meet the Redcoat and the Jacobite soldiers - This will give those attending the opportunity to handle the weapons and objects from 1745.
- Alan Brecks Volunteer regiment soldiers will meet and greet families on arrival (www.alanbrecksregiment.org.uk). The Alan Brecks Volunteer Regiment present exciting, informative and entertaining historical events.
- Short tour with exhibition talks and re-enactments - The Alan Brecks regiment will lead guests on a tour of the Tapestry, bringing some of the panels to life.
There will also be drop-in activities running on Saturday 1 and Saturday 8 July 2017 from 10am – 4pm.
- Stitching workshops - Dorie Wilkie, Chief Stitcher of the Prestonpans Tapestry, and her colleagues will offer stitching workshops suitable for both adults and children.
- Jacobite Treasure Hunt - Guests will be invited to follow the Jacobite trail to reach the surprise hidden treasure.
- Craft Zone - Visitors will be able to design their own medal or tartan.
- A roaming Bonny Prince Charlie will speak to visitors and tell them the story of the man behind the Tapestry.