HRH Duke of Rothesay visits Dovecot Studios
21 July 2014
His Royal Highness Duke of Rothesay visited Dovecot Studios on Monday 21 July 2014.
HRH Prince Charles was greeted at Dovecot by Alastair Salvesen, CBE (Chairman and Trustee, The Dovecot Foundation), Elizabeth Salvesen (Director and Trustee, The Dovecot Foundation) and David Weir (Director, Dovecot Studios). He was escorted to the Weaving Floor, where he met with the weaving team and viewed the Large Tree Group tapestry created at Dovecot in collaboration with artist Victoria Crowe. The tapestry was woven by Master Weavers Naomi Robertson and David Cochrane and was on tour in Australia, before returning, via London and Inverness, to its final home in the National Museums of Scotland. This touring exhibition titled Fleece to Fibre was first shown in 2012 to mark Dovecot’s centenary celebrations.
Wool was sourced from all over Britain for the Large Tree Group tapestry, from as far afield as Cornwall, Aberdeen and Lerwick. Some 70 producers across Great Britain, from small-scale crofters to large estates, provided wool from diverse sheep breeds and the yarn has been spun by a range of specialists – again from individual spinners and small groups to commercial operations on a semi-industrial scale. HRH Prince Charles, patron of the Campaign for Wool organisation and himself a supporter of the unique, natural and sustainable benefits offered by wool, kindly provided Hebridean and Lleyn fleece from Highgrove which was was woven into the tapestry. The tapestry contains wool from the estates of Highgrove, Whitburgh, Bowhill and Chatsworth. A series of exclusive miniatures created from the Large Tree Group tapestry were produced for Dovecot’s Centenary in 2012. The Large Tree Group tapestry and miniatures were woven entirely from un-dyed wools demonstrating the range and subtlety of colour variation possible when selected and blended by the skilled Dovecot weavers.
On the Weaving Floor, HRH Prince Charles met with Master Weaver and Studio Manager Naomi Robertson, Weaver Rudi Richardson, Junior Weaver Freya Sewell and Rug Tufter Dennis Reinmueller. David Weir discussed Freya Sewell’s apprenticeship with HRH Prince Charles, and highlighted the Studios endeavours in the area of education through the apprenticeship programme due to open again by the end of 2014, supported by Dovecot Foundation and Dovecot’s continuing programme of exhibitions championing contemporary craft and design.
The party then moved to the Viewing Balcony above, where HRH Prince Charles viewed the present exhibition Current Exchanges: Dovecot and the Australian Tapestry Workshop. The show of tapestries, rugs and other recent works from both institutions celebrate the rich cultural partnership that Dovecot has with its Melbourne based counterpart. David Weir spoke of Dovecot’s desire to further develop international creative exchanges.
This is the third Royal visit to Dovecot Studios. In 2011, The Duchess of Rothesay visited Dovecot Studios and earlier in 2004, HRH Queen Elizabeth II visited Dovecot Studios in its previous location at Donaldson’s, Edinburgh. Dovecot Studios has previously created tapestries for the Royal Family: The Royal Coat of Arms, Castle of Mey, designed by Stephen Gooden RA and woven by R. Cruikshank, R.B. Gordon and J. Louttit at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh 1950 and The Royal Coat of Arms of King George VI, designed by Stephen Gooden at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, 1951.
At the conclusion of his visit to Dovecot Studios, HRH Prince Charles was presented with a Dovecot miniature tapestry from the Large Tree Group series.