The Weaver's Apprentice

William Skeoch Cumming, Lord of the Hunt, 1924, detail of weavers’ initials, image courtesy The Bute Archive, Mount Stuart, photographed by Antonia Reeve

This exhibition tells the story of the Dovecot apprenticeship, featuring objects from the organisation’s archive, as well as historic and current works.
The loss of Dovecot’s founding master weavers, John ‘Jack’ Glassbrook and Gordon Berry in 1917 during World War 1, might have seen the end of the Tapestry Studio before it had fully begun, but the young apprentices Ronald Cruickshank, Richard Gordon and David Lindsay Anderson returned to continue weaving at the Studio. A new group of apprentices was recruited after 1919 and the cycle of activity at the Studio continued. This exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the deaths of Glassbrook and Berry in 1917, and celebrates the legacy of their apprentices’ work.

Dovecot’s master weavers continue to teach new apprentices and the roots of their skills and knowledge can be traced back to those original founding weavers. The methods for teaching remain remarkably similar – beginning with simple triangular and curved forms in tapestry weaving. From apprentice pieces created by Dovecot’s first weavers, and the works of many apprentices in between, the exhibition brings this story to the present day, featuring sample works by current apprentice Ben Hymers.
The exhibition includes the loan of The Chace from Hampshire Cultural Trust – an important tapestry produced by Morris & Co. and woven by Dovecot’s founding weavers after their own apprenticeships with William Morris. Apprentice weaver Ben Hymers’ apprentice piece Hipsters Love Triangles, and his study work, Penelope, is also on view, along with his reactions to the six generations of apprentices who have gone before him.

A supporting programme of events will run alongside this exhibition, with an emphasis on the stories behind the tapestries, the apprentices and Dovecot’s heritage. All events have a hearing loop available for use and are free to attend unless stated otherwise.

The Chace: Tapestry up Close I £6/3 (limited places)
Friday 3 March 11am-noon

Audio Descriptive Guided Tour: Sense of Place I Disabled Access Day
Saturday 11 March 10am-2pm

Curator’s Tour of The Weaver’s Apprentice I Disabled Access Day
Saturday 11 March 2.30-3pm

Curator’s Tour of The Weaver’s Apprentice
Wednesday 26 April 3-3.30pm l Wednesday 31 May 3-3.30pm

Weaving Demonstration by Apprentice Weaver Ben Hymers
Tuesday 28 March 11am-1pm* l Tuesday 18 April 11am-1pm l
Tuesday 16 May 11am-1pm* l Tuesday 6 June 11am-1pm* I
Tuesday 27 June 11am-1pm

*Hearing Loop not available for these demonstrations

Storytelling for Young and Old: Masters and Apprentices
Monday 10 April 10.30am-12.30pm

Storyteller Weaving Tales: The Weaver’s Apprentice
Saturday 6 May 2-3pm

Audio Descriptive Tour of The Weaver’s Apprentice Exhibition
Thursday 15 June 11am-noon

Exhibition open: Mon-Sat 10.30am-5.30pm

The Dovecot Tapestry Studio Viewing Balcony can be visited on Thurs and Fri 12-3pm and Sat 10.30am-5.30pm.

  • Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology
  • Dovecot Foundation
  • Creative Scotland
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Gallery & Shop

Mon-Sat 10.30am-5.30pm

Tapestry Studio Viewing Balcony

Mon-Fri 12-3pm Sat 10.30am-5.30pm

Please note that the Viewing Balcony will be closed on Saturday 21 October due to a private event.

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Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Sat 10am-5pm