Stirling Castle and the tapestries

We took one weekend to go to Stirling Castle. Again, lots of walking! We took the train from Edinburgh to Stirling, and everything we saw online indicated that we would have to walk up to the castle. That turned out not to be entirely true, but we didn’t discover that until we had walked straight up (it seemed like it was straight up!) to the castle. Then it was more up and down and all around the castle, but let me tell you what we saw!

One of the first things I saw was a sign to the tapestry exhibit! So of course we had to do that! The tapestry studio exhibit was at the very far end of the castle grounds, and we didn’t see it until we had gone through the castle with a guide. So after seeing the tapestry studio exhibit we had to go back to the castle to see the tapestries we learned about – more up and down. Let me tell you, everything in Scotland is hilly!

The tapestries hang in the queen’s bedchamber, and tell the story of the unicorn hunt. This is a classic them in medieval tapestry, and the tapestries covered the walls of the queen’s bedchamber, both for warmth and decoration.

The link goes to a video about how the tapestries were woven, not very long, but very interesting!

The studio exhibit was fascinating because it tells the story of the recreation of the tapestries. It includes a short video about the tapestries, but it also had several of the threads, bobbins, a tapestry in progress, and other items. I even saw a DMC thread wrapper! It’s always fun to find things in an exhibit that I recognize immediately.

After we had walked to the far end of the castle grounds to see the tapestry studio, of course we had to walk back up to the castle to see the tapestries again, because we didn’t know what to look for the first time we were in the queen’s bedchamber. So we climbed back up to look more closely. Well worth the walk and the effort, and probably the thing we enjoyed the most at Stirling Castle.

A couple of things about this visit: as we were walking up to the castle, we were looking in shops as we went. And I saw someone sitting in one of the shop windows, working on an embroidery in a hoop! Across from her sat another woman winding DMC floss onto bobbins. I wanted so badly to go in the shop and visit for awhile, but we were concerned about our time and catching the train back to Edinburgh so I regretfully passed it up. My husband knows that once I start talking stitching all hope of schedules is gone.

And yesterday, I was rewatching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (one of my favorite series to rewatch as I work), and lo and behold – the unicorn tapestry from Stirling Castle was in one of the background shots! I think the Gryffindor Common Room, but I was so surprised to see it and give it some context!

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