The castle will welcome the tapestry – which depicts key scenes and events in Scottish history – when it opens to the public on the 31st January as part of its national tour. The 143m-long tapestry, officially the largest embroidered tapestry in the world, takes visitors on a journey through Scotland from the turbulence of the last ice age to the present day. The brainchild of author Alexander McCall Smith, the 160 panels of intricate stitching illustrate a people’s history. It is Scotland’s largest community arts project and was completed by more than 1000 volunteers of all ages located across the country. To date, the tapestry has been visited by more than 200,000 people with many thousands more expected to visit Stirling Castle to see the exhibit.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland will be displayed in the castle’s Great Hall. It is one of the only venues on the Great Tapestry tour where visitors will be able to see the tapestry displayed in its entirety due to its size and scale. Apart from the Castle itself (which features in the Bannockburn panel and in the panel depicting William Wallace and Andrew Moray), a host of other Historic Scotland sites feature including Calanais Standing Stones, Iona Abbey and St Andrew’s Cathedral.
The inspiration for the Great Tapestry of Scotland stemmed from a visit to the Prestonpans Tapestry in 2011 by Alexander McCall Smith. Upon witnessing the emotional engagement of visitors with the artwork, McCall Smith approached the artist, Andrew Crummy with the suggestion that he design a tapestry that told the story of the entire history of Scotland. Historian Alistair Moffat and Stitch Co-ordinator Dorie Wilkie were quickly drafted in to the project. Using a range of embroidery skills and over 300 miles of Appletons woollen yarn, volunteer stitchers worked for over 50,000 hours to translate Andrew Crummy’s descriptive artwork into a colourful, skilful and textural depiction of the history of Scotland.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition at Stirling Castle will run from the 31st January to the 8th March and is open daily from 9.30am –5pm. Last admissions are 4.15pm. Admission is included in the price of entry to the castle. An exciting programme of learning sessions including drop-in activities and sign-up workshops will also take place providing creative opportunities for schools and visitors inspired by the tapestry and the magnificent setting of Stirling Castle.
For more information, please visit www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk.