Embroidery and Tapestry

I had an amazing time yesterday.

Now a visit to the British Library on the hottest day of the year so far, does not sound like an appealing prospect.  But I was entirely wrong and I recommend a visit to see Magna Carta (An Embroidery) before the exhibition closes on 24 July 2015.

To celebrate Magna Carta’s  800th anniversary this year,  the acclaimed British artist Cornelia Parker  has replicated in stitch the entire Wikipedia article on Magna Carta as it appeared on the document’s 799th anniversary.

” A landmark in constitutional history and a foundation of the concept of the rule of law, Magna Carta is one of the most famous documents ever written.  What began life in the 13th centuary as a peace treaty between King John and his barons has come to be viewed as the great charter of civil liberties and it retains enormous symbolic power as an ancient defence of individual rights and freedoms”

The Wikipedia article on Magna Carta attracts more than 150,000 page views each month and is always being amended.  Magna Carta (An Embroidery) is a snapshot of where the debate is right now explains Parker  ‘Echoing the communal activity that resulted in the Bayeux Tapestry, but on this occasion placing more emphasis on the word rather than the image, I wanted to create an artwork that is a contemporary interpretation of Magna Carta”

The Wikipedia article was captured by Cornelia Parker  on 15 June 2014 and output it as a printed pattern on fabric. The fabric was divided into 87 sections and sent out around the country to be stitched by more than 200 people.  Eventually they were sewn back together by the Embroidery Studio at the Royal School of Needlework.  The finished piece is almost 13 metres long.

It is a really amazing piece of work, partly because so many people created it and the embroidery is not perfect!  There are however detailed pictures emblems and logos scattered along one side.  These have been stitched by highly accomplished members of the embroiderers Guild.


The version of Magna Carta issued by Henry 111

Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

The complete embroidery


A sample of the embroidered text from Wikipedia


Part of a series of articles on Monarchy


John of England signs Magna Carta, illustration from Cassell’s History of England (1902)


Pope Innocent 111 (d. 1216; mural 1219)


Jurist Edward Coke interpreted Magna Carta to apply not only to the protection of nobles but to all subjects of the crown equally.










My information has been taken from the information booklet ” Cornelia Parker Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

Now The Tapestry element.  Its a loose connection, or thread,  here!

I was taken to the Carole King Musical “Beautiful” at the Aldwych afterwards!  I sat there entirely mesmerised and immersed in my youth! And the Tapestry thing popped into my head.  I will always love all the Carole King music, what a talent, and the show did her music superb justice.

Another thing to do if you are in London soon!