Bridging Arts

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Idle days in captivity

... and Mary Queen of Scots' imagination ran wild. Taken so by surprise by these panels at the V&A that wanted to photograph them all.  But on second glance they are seriously weird. What DID she have on her mind?
These embroideries were made between 1569 and about 1585 while she was under house arrest in England.  George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury was responsible for Mary and she stayed at one or other of the Shrewsbury estates. Elizabeth (Bess) Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury worked with Mary Queen of Scots on these.

According to the V&A: "Embroidery was a form of therapy and communication for Mary, as well as a conventional occupation for wealthy and elite women. Most of the motifs depicted were copied from the wood-cut illustrations of emblem books and natural histories by well-known authors such as Claud Paradin, Conrad Gessner, Pierre Belon. These often represented sentiments and morals from classical literature and contemporary folklore, and were chosen by Mary to express her most private thoughts at a time when all her written correspondence was being monitored by her captors."