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    Scotiana’s Books for Christmas: The Great Tapestry of Scotland


    Christmas decorations at our local garden centre © 2015 Scotiana

    Christmas decorations at our local garden centre © 2015 Scotiana

    Dear readers,

    I’d better hurry if I want to give you one or two more ideas of books to offer at Christmas for we can already hear the merry sound of the jingle bells of Santa Claus’s sleigh. We are leaving tomorrow for our holiday in the family, a round trip of more than 2000 km and I’ve still not finished to prepare our luggage !

    Shall we have time to pass by Aubigny-sur-Nère on our return trip, I’m not sure but we’ll try anyway 😉


    Mary's Cottage Aubigny-sur-Nère © 2014 Scotiana

    This morning we got one of the most lovely comments we’ve ever received about Aubigny-sur-Nère, the French City of the Stuarts, a place we love so much 😉 I can’t help to quote it now:

    “Such a beautiful description of Aubigny Sur Nere. I grew up there and to this day, I dream of the beautiful architectures of the buildings, the wall and road bricks, the beautiful plants hanging off the walls, the beautiful river flowing through the town, the beautiful traditions it has, the nicest people I grew up with and everything about it. It has a magical touch to this beautiful town. It’s been 17 years since I’ve left Aubigny Sur Nere to Paris and it’s been 11 years since I’ve left France to America. I’d give anything to visit because I left a piece of my heart in Aubigny Sur Nere. A part of who I am today and the way I view life, Aubigny has a huge role in it. Beautiful quite town that I love and will always love. Someday I will come back and visit my hometown.”

    Vanessa Vu

    A Merry Christmas to you and many many thanks Vanessa for so kind a message!

    Beast and thistle on an old façade in Aubigny-sur-Nère © 2014 Scotiana

    Beast and thistle on an old façade in Aubigny-sur-Nère © 2014 Scotiana

    But now, back to our last but one selection of books for Christmas 😉

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland Alistair Moffat Andrew Crummy Birlinn 2014

    Look how spoiled I have been! The Great Tapestry of Scotland is one of the three wonderful gifts I’ve just discovered under our Christmas tree. We’ve decided to open them before leaving.  The other books were Jules Verne’s Scotland by Ian Thompson 🙂  and Alistair Moffat’s Scotland 🙂 which was the object of my last post.

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a wonderful book to offer not only because it is beautiful but also because its illustrated pages tell the story of Scotland! That’s a good beginning to learn Scottish history !

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland Susan Mansfield and Alistair Moffat Birlinn 2013

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland Susan Mansfield and Alistair Moffat Birlinn 2013

    Some of you may want to know more about this great tapestry. Wikipedia gives a detailed description of it:

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a series of embroidered cloths (rather than a woven tapestry) made up of 160 hand stitched panels, depicting aspects of the history of Scotland from 8500 BC until its launch in 2013.
    The tapestry was designed by Andrew Crummy, son of Helen Crummy, who had previously designed the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry and later the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. It implements an idea of Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith for a grand tapestry to depict episodes from 12,000 years of the history of Scotland, after he had seen the Prestonpans Tapestry.

    Each of the panels took around 500 hours to sew, involving over a thousand volunteers from existing or newly formed sewing groups across Scotland working between Spring 2012 to September 2013. Members of a studio group based at Eskbank prepared the panels for display by stretching and backing them, and the completed tapestry was unveiled on 3 September 2013 in the Main Hall of the Scottish Parliament building.
    The tapestry measures 143 metres (469 ft) long, each panel being displayed individually in approximately chronological order. In comparison the Keiskamma tapestry in South Africa is 120 metres (390 ft) long and the Bayeux Tapestry is nearly 70 metres (230 ft) long).Most of the panels are approximately 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) square, with only a few measuring 1/2 metre wide.
    The tapestry has been exhibited, in part or whole, throughout Scotland, visiting New Lanark, Ayr Town Hall, Cockenzie House East Lothian, Stirling Castle, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Kirkcaldy Art Gallery, Anchor Mill Paisley and Sgoil Lionacleit on Benbecula, amongst others, with visits to Dundee and Inverness planned. A selection of panels were also exhibited at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

    There is a plan to build an Art Centre at Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders to provide the tapestry with a permanent home.
    During the exhibition at Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery in the summer of 2015, the Rosslyn Chapel panel was stolen. It is one of the half width panels. It has not yet been recovered. 🙁


    This Great Tapestry of Scotland is a wonderful work of art, in the same spirit as the Prestonpans Tapestry and the Diaspora Tapestry. The book  is  wonderful too, especially for people who, like us, haven’t yet been able to admire the tapestry!


    The Great Tapestry of Scotland pannels selection 1

    The book is a large format volume. On each double page you can find a reproduction of a panel accompanied by a very interesting text written by Alistair Moffat. Each panel is a jewel as you can see on my selection.

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland Ice melting first pionneers

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland Ice melting first pionneers

    I can’t stop browsing through the pages of this fascinating volume which reads like an illustrated book of history!

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland Wild Wood and Fauna c8500 BC

    The Great Tapestry of Scotland Wild Wood and Fauna c8500 BC


    After discovering with so much pleasure the Prestonpans Tapestry while it was on display in the French city of Bayeux in the same building as the famous Bayeux Tapestry (the tapestry of Queen Matilda), we’re now very eager to discover The Great Tapestry of Scotland.  Maybe the stolen panel of the Rosslyn Chapel will have been recovered then.We hope so, for the loss of it is a very sad story…

    In the meantime,  let’s enjoy together the videos below. We are fans of Alexander McCall Smith. And look at his funny and very appropriate “boutonnière” 😉

    A bientôt.




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    2 comments to Scotiana’s Books for Christmas: The Great Tapestry of Scotland

    • George Porter-Mutch

      If you can’t make it to AUBIGNY this time round, why not try to come to Burns’ Day on the last Sunday in January? It’s organised by the Twinning committee.
      A Scottish lunch, then a wonderful concert of Scottish music by my friends Joanne McIver and Christophe Saunière, and to round off a great day, a couple of hours of really enjoyable ceilidh dancing to live music.
      Tell your friends!
      Merry Christmas and see you in January!

      • Hi George !
        Many thanks for your kind invitation to the Burns’ Day celebrations organized in Aubigny-sur-Nère on the last Sunday in January. What a great programme! We would have liked very much to enjoy with you the best moments of these traditional Scottish festivities within the lovely “French City of the Stuarts” but it won’t be possible this year. Neither, alas, could we stop at Aubigny a few days ago, on our return trip from Sarreguemines to Bordeaux, but we’ll try to go there next time.
        We passed through Haddington during our last trip to Scotland in May-June 2015 and took a few pictures of the place. It’s a lovely place but we arrived there after 5 o’clock and it was not the best time to visit it. We’ll have to go back there 😉
        We wish a Happy Burn’s Day to you, your family and friends and of course a very happy new year.
        Avec toutes nos amitiés.
        Mairiuna and the whole team of Scotiana

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