Tapestries made for Mary Queen of Scots castle return to Stirling in £2 million Renaissance plan

By Culture24 Staff | 25 May 2011 | Updated: 24 May 2011
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A photo of two women in Renaissance regal gowns smiling inside a castle with tapestry walls
Re-enactors enjoy the spectacular new arrivals at Stirling Castle
A quartet of “stunningly beautiful” replicas of tapestries made for the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century have been hung in Stirling Castle’s Royal palace as part of a £2 million Renaissance weaving bonanza.

The new interpretations of the Hunt of the Unicorn series are the first of seven hand-woven for the Queen’s Inner Hall, one of six apartments within the palace annexe being returned to their ancient look and feel. The original tapestries are held in the Cloisters Museum at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“It has taken years to weave them and to finally see them in their new home, the royal apartment for which they have been specially made, is a great experience,” says Project Manager Peter Buchanan.

“The tapestries are stunningly beautiful and will be one of the great attractions of the palace.”

A nimble-fingered team of craft conspirators from West Dean Tapestry Studio made the tapestries in a specially-created design hub at the castle and at their headquarters in faraway West Sussex.

“We started the first tapestry in 2001, so this is the climax of a decade of weaving,” reflected the Castle’s Senior Weaver Louise Martin, calling it a “very special moment.”

“What’s so wonderful is that visitors will be able to step back in time and see what a Scottish royal palace was like in its heyday, when the tapestries, furnishings, furniture and decorations were colourful and new.”

A fifth tapestry – cut from the loom in Stirling – is near completion. The final tapestry is expected to be finished during 2013.

Visitors will be able to grab a first glimpse of the tapestries in a special reopening event in June 2011. Stirling Castle Presents – A Palace fit for a Queen will welcome dozens of dancers, jesters, soldiers and nobles to the castle, as well as a young Mary Queen of Scots, cookery demonstrations, music and more.

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