The Prestonpans Tapestry is a narrative embroidery which tells the story of the campaign which led to the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745. Over two hundred volunteers stitched the sequence of 104 illustrations to designs drawn by renowned local artist Andrew Crummy. The creation of the tapestry, which was completed in 2010, was the stimulus for a remarkable artistic renaissance which has led to a series of significant embroidery projects, including the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry which is also owned by the Trust. The Prestonpans Tapestry is the most significant asset in the Trust’s collection, and will form a cornerstone in its interpretation of the campaign and its continuing artistic legacy.
The Tapestry combines charming illustration and beautiful craftsmanship with comprehensive historical detail to create a compelling narrative of the Prestonpans campaign. It has toured locations across Scotland, England and France, bringing the story of the battle to wide and diverse audiences of all ages. It is a uniquely engaging presentation of this important story, and in itself a symbol of the lasting engagement between Scotland’s communities and the events of 1745.
After years of intensive touring to venues as varied as sports halls, cathedrals, and the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, the Trust has significantly reduced the amount of exhibitions undertaken in order to ensure the Tapestry’s long-term preservation. At 105m in length, this remarkable community artwork requires a permanent home in order to be enjoyed by generations to come. This need is a driving duty for the Trust, and only the creation of a purpose-built facility can satisfy it. Never has it yet been seen as it was originally intended, as one continuous narrative strip.
The Tapestry has been examined by expert conservators and the Trust is committed to presenting it in a way which protects it for the future. After a series of displays in 2020 to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the tapestry will be withdrawn from touring to be prepared for permanent display.
When it is unveiled anew in its permanent home, the Prestonpans Tapestry will be sensitively and atmospherically presented with appropriate lighting, supported by interpretation, artefacts and ambient sounds which enhance the experience of admiring this beautiful artwork and the story it tells.