Saturday 10 August 2013

Prestonpans Tapestry - The World's Longest Tapestry?

I think I am losing track of tapestry work that is aiming at breaking world records. Completed in 2010, the Prestonpans Tapestry with a length of 140 metres was the world’s longest tapestry and had involved more than 10 million stitches and 15,000 hours work by 200 volunteers.

Commissioned by the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust, the tapestry depicts the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's early campaign in 1745, ending with the Jacobite army's victory over the government's army. Each of its one metre panels depicts a scene from the journey of the Prince and his followers, dating from his landing in Scotland in August 1745 to his victory at Prestonpans the following month.

It was designed by community-based artist Andrew Crummy, with historical advice provided by scholars Martin Margulies and Arran Johnston, to ensure its authenticity. Mr Crummy is now hoping the work may one day be as famous as the Bayeux tapestry. People from all over Scotland and from all walks of life came forward to take on a panel - so much so that the tapestry grew from 80 panels to 104, to accommodate everyone who wanted to take part and elements of the story that had initially been overlooked.

Mr Crummy said: The quality of work proved a revelation. Although we knew some of the stitchers were very experienced and would produce high quality work, we've been blown away by the work of everyone - even those that had never attempted embroidery before. Many of the stitchers worked in groups, or met regularly to compare notes, and that also really pushed up the standard as an element of healthy competition developed. The result has been a truly amazing tapestry which I'm sure will impress audiences for decades to come. Perhaps one day it will become as famous as the Bayeux. Eventually, it is hoped the tapestry will form the centrepiece of a living history centre the trustees are campaigning to create near the battle site in Prestonpans.

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