Commemorative and commissioned textiles

Commemorative and commissioned textiles

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a commemorative embroidery illustrating 12,000 years of Scottish history, from prehistoric times to the present. The Tapestry was commissioned by the fiction writer, Alexander McCall Smith, after seeing the Prestonpans tapestry. The design of the Great Tapestry of Scotland is by Alistair Moffat and the artist, Andrew Crummy.

The Guernsey tapestry is a commemorative embroidery illustrating one thousand years of Guernsey (Channel Islands, UK) history. It is officially known as the Bailiwick of Guernsey Millennium tapestry (BGMT).

To commemorate the start of the First World War in 1914, the London-based embroidery firm of Hand & Lock created a specially designed embroidered poppy picture. The use of poppies as a symbol of the Great War (1914-1918) is traditional in Britain and it is normal for people to wear paper poppies for the first week or so of November (the war officially ended on 11th November 1918).

The HMP Wandsworth quilt is a patchwork quilt commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in collaboration with the charity organisation, Fine Cell Work, as part of the Museum's exhibition about British quilting from 1700 until 2010. The exhibition was held in 2010.

The Jersey Occupation tapestry is a commemorative embroideryillustrating the occupation and liberation of Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands, from the Nazi’s during the Second World War (1939-1945). The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to be occupied during the war. The embroidery was made to celebrate the fiftieth university of the island’s liberation. It is also known as the Occupation tapestry.

The jupon (or surcoat) of the Black Prince (Edward of Woodstock, 1330-1376; the eldest son of King Edward III of England and the victorious English leader at Crécy and Poitiers in the Hundred Year War) has for centuries been part of his 'armorial achievements' and was hanging above his effigy and tester at his tomb, behind the choir of Canterbury Cathedral.

The Keiskamma Guernica in South Africa is a commemorative embroidery based on the famous painting by the Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). The painting (1937) depicts the bombing of a village in Spain by German warplanes at the request of the Spanish Nationalist Government.

The feestrok ('celebration skirt') is a patchwork skirt, now in the collection of the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden, The Netherlands. Also  known as a bevrijdingsrok ('liberation skirt'), the TRC feestrok is one of many comparable garments made in order to celebrate the liberation of the Netherlands in May 1945 from German occupation at the end of World War II (1939-1945).

A memorial card records the death of a family member or friend. These cards were especially popular in Europe and the Americas in the nineteenth century.

The Murray and Roberts tapestries are a series of commissioned embroideries depicting South African trees. The plans for the tapestries were developed in 2007, when the construction, contracting and mining company of Murray & Roberts was building a new head office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The New World tapestry is a commemorative embroidery illustrating England’s colonisation attempts in North America, Bermuda, Guyana and Newfoundland between 1583 and the year 1642, when the English Civil War broke out. The embroidery was designed by Tom Mor, who also designed the Plymouth tapestry and the Bristol Berkeley Plantation tapestry.

The Njáls Saga tapestry (njálurefill) is a modern embroidery that is based on a traditional Icelandic Viking story called Njáls Saga. It is deliberately being designed and embroidered in the same manner as the Bayeux tapestry. The embroidery is being stitched in Hvolsvöllur in southern Iceland.

Sometimes also known as the Overlord Tapestry, the Overlord Embroidery is a series of embroidered panels commemorating the Allied D-Day invasion of France in June 1944. Lord Dulverton of Batsford (Frederick Wills, 1915-1992), inspired by the Bayeux tapestry, commissioned the embroidery in 1968. Sandra Lawrence created the design.

The Plymouth Congregational Church tapestry (Minneapolis, USA) is a commemorative embroidery based on the four seasons. The tapestry was commissioned by Mary and Paul Carson (he was then minister of the Congregational Church) and designed by the British illustrator, Pauline Baynes. The embroidery was started in 1971 and took about forty years for the four panels to be finished.

The Plymouth tapestry is a commemorative embroidery based on a sixteenth century document recording the appointment of Plymouth’s first schoolmaster, Thomas Brooke, in 1561. The embroidery was designed by West Country artist, Tom Mor, in a cartoon style and includes figures, texts and names.

The Prestonpans tapestry is a commemorative embroidery, based on the theme of the battle of Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland, on 21st September 1745. The official title is 'The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry 1745'. The embroidery was inspired by the Bayeux tapestry.

The Quaker tapestry is a commemorative embroidery that illustrates the history of Quakerism (a Christian, non-Conformist religious group; also known as the Society of Friends). The idea for the Tapestry came from Anne Wynn-Wilson, who was influenced by the Bayeux tapestry.

The Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Copes are a set of four copes with hoods made to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of Britain (r: 1837-1901) in 1897. They were designed by John Thomas Mickelthwaite (1843-1906) and George Frederick Bodley (1827-1907). The copes were made from a cream coloured brocatelle with a blue linen lining.

The Rhodesian tapestry is a series of embroidered panels that depict various elements of Rhodesian (Zimbabwean) history. The original plans for the tapestry date back to 1946, when Lady Kate Tait, wife of the then (ex-) Governor of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Campbell Tait, suggested that an embroidery should be made that depicted the “cardinal events in Rhodesian history on the lines of the Bayeux Tapestry” (Ransford 1971:4).

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