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Although a large body of needlework has always been attributed to Mary Queen of Scots, little attempt was made to authenticate these pieces or to explain how so energetic and impetuous a woman could have found pleasure in the meticulous craft of embroidery. This is the first comprehensive study of the Queen as a needlewoman describing all the works associated with her. For the first time every piece marked by her cipher or mogram is illustrated in full. A biographical outline provides the framework for understanding her work by setting it in the context of her unsettled and stormy life. It recounts the influence of her formative years in France and her absorption in needlework during the years of imprisonment. Many of the embroideries can be seen in British country houses and in Scottish collections.
Margaret Swain grew up in Lancashire and was taught to embroider by her Grandmother even before she learned to read. She later trained as a nurse in London, married and after the war moved with her family to Edinburgh. While pursuing her strong interest in history she recognised the high quality of Scottish historical needlework, then little known, so she researched it, travelling widely, writing and working tirelessly to bring it to a wider audience. She also researched more widely into the history of textiles. She advised and worked with institutions at home and abroad, from Holyroodhouse in Edinburgth to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, organized exhibitions of needlework and costume and was a popular lecturer. In 1981 she received an honorary MA from Edinburgh University, and in 1989 an MBE for her work on embroidery and tapestries. She lived in Edinburgh until her death in 2002.
Ruth Bean Publishers
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Ruth Bean Publishers
12 colour photographs 70 black & white photographs 20 black & white illustrations
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