Great Tapestry of Scotland unveiled at Parliament

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A TAPESTRY which tells Scotland’s colourful story from pre-history to modern times has been unveiled at the Scottish Parliament.

Measuring 143 metres long (almost 500ft), the Great Tapestry of Scotland is one of the iggest in the world.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was unveiled today. Picture: Neil Hanna

The Great Tapestry of Scotland was unveiled today. Picture: Neil Hanna

Its 160 beautifully detailed panels capture important moments during the country’s 420 million-year history.

The unique piece of art was devised by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith along with historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy.

One thousand embroiderers aged four to 94 brought Scotland’s history to life.

The work took more than 50,000 hours to complete and will be exhibited in the Main Hall of the Scottish Parliament until 21 September.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick MSP, who unveiled the tapestry, said: “To see it in its entirety is truly breathtaking. It is fitting that this tapestry, by the people of Scotland for the people of Scotland, should be unveiled in our nation’s parliament.

“The scale of the project is immense but the detail in each and every panel vividly illustrates Scotland’s rich and diverse history.

“The overall glorious effect of the Great Tapestry is a testament to the hours of work and creativity of 1,000 stitchers from across Scotland.”

Ms Marwick added: “I would encourage people from across Scotland to come see this magnificent artwork.

“There is no other piece of art out there that tells so much about Scotland’s story.”

McCall Smith said the tapestry brought Scotland’s history to life. “This is a wonderful day for the artist and the hundreds of stitchers behind this project,” he said. “Today marks the end of the first part of this tapestry’s life – the stage of its inception and creation.

“Now we start the second stage, when the tapestry begins its life’s work. And that life’s work is to bring pleasure to the many thousands of people who will see it each year.

“The history of Scotland is a fascinating tale. This tapestry will bring that story to life in a way that no other single artefact can match.

“What we are seeing with its unveiling at the Scottish Parliament is the revealing to the world of a treasure of astonishing beauty and interest.”

Meanwhile, a call was issued yesterday to enlist thousands of volunteers to help transcribe more than a million historic Scottish records.

Transcribe ScotlandsPlaces is the biggest “crowd-sourcing” project of its kind in Scotland and will focus on records of people and places dating from 1645 to 1880.

This includes more than 150,000 pages of old handwriting in Scots, English and Gaelic detailing information about land taxation, taxes on clocks, windows and farm horses, as well as Ordnance Survey “name books” which were part of the first official record of Scottish places and place names.

It is hoped the information processed as part of this project, one of the first of its kind in the UK, will boost knowledge and understanding of Scotland and its people.


The Scottish Parliament - The Great Tapestry of Scotland Exhibition