The Embroidering Queen

June 27, 2018 2 Comments

The Embroidering Queen

I was on a day out a few days ago visiting the grounds of a Athelhampton House, Dorset when I came across a little curio in a frame, I couldn’t read the description until I could blow it up on a screen to get a better look, and to my surprise it was worked by a famous Scottish Queen, this sparked my imagination to look further into the embroidering Queen.

Mary Queen Of Scots (1542-1587) was know and remembered for many things but a keen and enthusiastic embroider is something hard to imagine. Her troubled reign in Scotland forced her to flee to England and as Elizabeth 1st cousin and catholic Mary had long coveted the English throne for herself, Elizabeth saw her as a threat and she was right. Mary was held captive in various English country houses for 19 years and in the end being found guilty of plotting to assassinate the Queen in 1586 and was executed a year later.

Portrait by Francois Clouet 1558–1560

Picture of Mary Queen of Scot's Bed chamber. The Royal collection at Palace of Holyroohouse.

On a research trip to the V&A last summer I remember seeing a cabinet full of tent stitch canvases worked by Mary Queen of Scot's and Elizabeth Talbot, countess of Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick) who herself had a very colorful and interesting life and had a great love for embroidery, one of her many houses Hardwick Hall, hosts one of the largest collections of Embroidery, Tapestry's and Textiles.

Canvas panels worked in Tent stitch from this same group are now at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk.

Mary was held captive in many places including Oxburgh Hall Norfolk where she worked on pieces of embroidery together with Elizabeth Talbot that were later sewn together to become the 'Maria Hanging' This was subsequently used as a bed hanging.

Many more examples of her work still exists and are dotted around different English houses.

 




2 Responses

Jean
Jean

July 03, 2018

Beautiful and informative! Thank you for this.

Annette Huntet
Annette Huntet

July 03, 2018

Get in touch with Melissa at the www.schoolofancientcrafts.org I was privileged to be part of her Heritage Sewing Group, we recreated the Marion Hanging and it is now on display in Edinburgh Castle.

Leave a comment