03 August 2011

Woollie Wanderings

I've been out and about and home. Lots going on.

Stirling Castle - We visited Stirling Castle on Sunday to see the reconstructed Royal Palace which opened in early July. Following years of research and painstaking craftsmanship, the Royal Palace of James V (constructed in 1545) has been recreated (inside the original building) to show it in its prime - bringing the Scottish Renaissance Court to life. 

It includes the King's Bed Chamber, Inner and Outer Sanctums, the Queens Chambers etc. The walls and fireplaces have been painted, the Stirling Heads (a series of carved wooden bosses that adorned the ceilings) have been recreated, with the originals now residing in a purpose built museum, furniture recreated along with fabrics and wall hangings and 4 of the 7 tapestries that are being recreated using traditional weaving techniques and based on the Hunt of the Unicorn series, originally woven in Belgium in the 16th century and now housed in New York's Metropolitan Museum, adorn the walls. 

Royal Fireplace

 Queen's Bed Chamber - yes, there was a bed, but it isn't where the Queen slept

One of the Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestries

The Stirling Heads 

There are 2 tapestries to complete. They will be finished in about 18 months. One is being woven in the temporary weaving studio in Stirling Castle and the other at West Dean Tapestry Studio in Chichester. It's great to be able to go to the studio and see the tapestry in progress. When we were there on Sunday the fifth tapestry had just been finished, cut down and was waiting to be hung in the Queen's Chambers. It was great to be able to talk to someone with specialist knowledge and find out how it's done. 

The tapestries are made using hand-dyed Wensleydale yarn; each one taking between 18 months and 4.5 years to complete, taking a total of 12 years to complete. In the 16th Century, a series of tapestries would cost about £2000 (and a warship £3000) and there were over 100 in the Royal Collection (none of which survive), then the Royal Court was certainly showing off its wealth. 

Spectacular and definitely worth the visit. As I renewed my Historic Scotland membership I will be able to go back again in the near future and take the audio tour. 

Visit the Castle's blog for updates. 


Anonymous said...

I love seeing trapestries being made. There's something aweinspirering in the amount of time and work put into one of these beautiful works of art.
Sounds like it's worth a visit!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE Stirling castle! That's where I first saw the tapestries -- I think the first or second one. Which then inspired me to go and see the originals. So, I take it the first few tapestries have been moved from the big open hall they were hanging in? And isn't it amazing -- 100 tapestries and none of them survived? I wonder what happened to them?

Bethany Hissong said...

So, where did the Queen sleep? I guess you had another royal wedding over the weekend. I love tapestries... I did one in college and it took forever but I fell in love with working in thread. Thanks for sharing all about Stirling Castle. I'm in awe of the age of the place!

heather said...

this is sooooo awesome! i love that hunt of the unicorn tapestry series... i do love me an old tapestry, it just seems like such a lost art. they are amazing!

Tanja said...

I loved Stirling Castle, we were there last year. Did you see the Harry Potter movie, no. 7 part 1? It features the tapestries from Stirling Castle in the Gryffindor common room!