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Mary Queen of Scots
Needleworkers through the ages has sought inspiration from those events and objects they find most fascinating. The rise of printing presses gave avid needleworkers an ever increasing source of inspiration for their work and frequently their subjects were drawn from woodcuts of mythological scenes such as Europa and the bull. The Whale - illustrated above, is an example of how the mythological elements of little known creatures were confused with their actual appearance.
It is hard to imagine that at the time many of the animals we take for granted such as Lions, elephants and even the beaver, were considered as rare, and mythological as such creatures as the Monkfish, The phoenix and the Unicorne. There were a number of illustrated books published during the sixteenth century that illustrated these animals.
Perhaps the most famous of our historical needlewomen was Mary Queen of Scots whose small silk squares can still be seen as part of hangings and bed curtains in Britain. Many of these patches were designed from pictures she saw in these books.
Mary, Queen of Scots, was held in captivity by Queen Elizabeth I and while ultimately losing her life, she has left a legacy of design behind, and inspiration. Using the same sources she used and following her style we have created a series of tapestries that recall the whimsical creatures of the Elizabthan period.