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Arts and Crafts Needlework

We are extremely lucky to not only have Elizabeth Elvin, former Principal of the Royal School of Needlework, as our guide on this trip, but she has also been able to obtain invitations for the group to attend the installation, reception and luncheon of the new Master of The Worshipful Company of Glovers. The installation not only doesn’t happen every year or two as the Master doesn’t change that often, but it is a real example of a medieval ceremony in the twenty-first century. A unique opportunity, to say the least.

AND, Ms. Elvin is designing a small piece of embroidery to be worked by each participant under her direction. We will learn for example, to use silk and gold thread, inspired by the wonderful things we will be seeing. And you’ll be able to take home a personal souvenir. But don’t think you need to be an accomplished embroiderer, as the piece will be appropriate for all levels – even beginners – and she will be with us throughout the trip to help and instruct.

The tour begins in Glasgow where we stay for three nights. From here we will visit Stirling Castle where we see their reproductions of the Unicorn Tapestries which are in The Cloisters in New York City and see how the reproductions are made. Then on to Edinburgh and the Dovecot Tapestry Center which is celebrating its hundredth anniversary.

The Dovecot was started by the Marquess of Bute and we spend a day going to Mt. Stuart, where the curator will give us a private view of his extraordinary textile collection, including tapestries from the Dovecot and several exquisite ecclesiastical embroideries.

A detail of one of these exquisite works is below on the right and offers an example of the type of work Liz will be teaching. On the left is an example of a design by May Morris and worked by her which is at the Cheltenham Art Gallery.

On our way to Kidderminster in Worcestershire, we spend a night in Liverpool. Our main visit is to the Elizabeth Hoare Embroidery Gallery at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, which is the largest church in Britain. The collection consists of over 300 items of ecclesiastical embroidery dating from 1840. There may also be time for one or two other special treats.

We spent three nights in the Stone Manor Hotel in Kidderminster, in a lovely and relaxing country setting. Among the many sites we are planning to include while there are a visit to Wightwick Manor with their exceptional Morris & Co furnishings, Chipping Campden, Kelmscott Manor, the newly expanded Cheltenham Art Gallery, Hereford Cathedral and Belmont Abbey.

Then we’ll drive into London, where we will have private tours of the needlecraft collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the William Morris Gallery. And we are planning a private viewing of the extraordinary vestments at Westminster Abbey (below).

Our last day together will be to see the “gowning” of the new Master of The Worshipful Company of Glovers, and participate in the short procession to Drapers’ Hall for a champagne reception and luncheon.

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