Mum’s Gros-Point Tapestry

In 1967 my mother started her gros-point tapestry – 5′ high x 10′ long.

She created completely from scratch an incredible medieval hunting scene.

The tapestry was made from two pieces of canvas joined down the middle and Mum was always sewing at it every evening.

The crewel wool (3 strand) and canvas came from Heinz Edgar Kiewe in Oxford.

The clothes were copied from tapestries from the 14th century and, amongst the composition, are various family momentos and portraits of real trees, such as the great oak in the park, silver birch, oak, copper beech trees.  They have been all part of our lives.

The lovers under the oak tree are family.

All the wild flowers are real species of English wild flowers, copied from life.  I remember Mum drawing the blank canvas with black Indian ink designs while it was work-in-progress.

The white stag is the emblem of St Hubert, the Christian saint who is the patron saint of hunters (as well as mathaticians, opticians, and metalworkers – I am finding out just as much as you are, here).

The Arum lily plant signfies the death of our beloved King Charles Cavalier spaniel, Bollinger.  He was wonderfully wicked and used to wander round the garden with a live hen in his mouth if he could!

I have always loved the hunting hounds.

The white hound is a lady’s hound – an Italian greyhound, who has not learned to jump up!

A trompe-l’œil frame surrounds the tapestry like a proper gilt picture frame arranged with the correct perspective so that it looks 3 dimensional (ish, added my Mother!)

Mum finished the tapestry in 1978.  It was stretched by the Royal School of Needlework, which reminds me of this old Punch cartoon.

14 thoughts on “Mum’s Gros-Point Tapestry

  1. Diane Head

    Thank you very much for showing us this amazing work. How your mother managed the logistics of working on such a large project would be interesting. Did she work on a frame?

    The rocking horse is beautiful too.


  2. Denny144

    I’m speechless, that’s amazing. And I do all kinds of needlework so I know the design work and hundreds of hours of sewing that went into it. I don’t think I know of any other contemporary piece like it. That is a priceless family heirloom.

  3. Robyn

    Your mother is very creative and this is such a beautiful tapestry. Thank you for posting such a vision of loveliness. Was the rocking horse yours Frances?

  4. diane in northern wisconsin, US

    Wow ….that tapestry is just incredible. I so enjoyed looking at it as you explained all about it. What a talent your mother has….to start it and continue it and actually bring it to completion. Amazing. I love it. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  5. Darby

    that is just stunning,the colors are especially beautiful, what a talented woman! and I love how it has such special meaning for your family.

  6. Terri

    Your mother is amazingly talented, to have designed and created this beautiful work of art! It also shows her dedication and perserverance. The inclusion of the family’s stories make it highly personal. As heirlooms go, this has got to be one of the best!

  7. Louise Stopford

    What a marvellous achievement.. Apart from being so clever and creative she must have the patience of a saint – takes me all my time to sew a button on!! Truly remarkable.


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