Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop unveiled two bespoke tapestries that will form the backdrop to an exhibition of the only surviving letters known to be directly connected to William Wallace.
Ms Hyslop was at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, where skilled weavers have carefully crafted the tapestries to a design inspired by the wording of the 700 year-old documents, which will go on display at the Scottish Parliament next month.
The tapestries, commissioned by National Records of Scotland and designed at Dovecot, will hang proudly behind each of the exhibits. Their design is inspired by the intricate lettering and historic parchment of the documents.
The letters will be brought together for the first time to form the centrepiece of ‘Special Delivery: The William Wallace Letters’ – a free exhibition to run from August 10 to September 8, 2012.
The exhibition will be delivered by National Records of Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Parliament, The National Archives London, and the Hansestadt Lübeck Archive.
It will feature the so-called Lübeck Letter, issued by Wallace and Andrew Murray, inviting the ports of Lübeck and Hamburg to resume trade with Scotland; and a letter of 1300 from the French King Philip IV to his agents at the Papal Court asking them to assist Wallace in his business before the Pope.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:
“The Wallace exhibition is of tremendous importance, providing an opportunity for the people of Scotland to see these two historic documents side by side for the first time.
“These bespoke tapestries have been carefully crafted by skilled weavers using traditional techniques which – like the letters – have stood the test of time.
“They will provide a beautiful and fitting backdrop, to add to the fascinating experience that the exhibition will deliver.”
George Mackenzie, Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:
“I’m excited about the tapestries in our exhibition on William Wallace, which will add a whole new dimension for visitors. It’s fascinating that the weavers are using methods Wallace would recognise if he was alive today.”
Dovecot Director David Weir said:
“It is a privilege to be creating these two beautiful calligraphic tapestries inspired by such historic material. In 2012, Scotland’s only contemporary tapestry studio is celebrating one hundred years of Dovecot weavers’ skilled tapestry production. Dovecot is proud to continue to act as an ambassador for Scottish culture in this milestone exhibition.”