Pause on the Landing 2005 is a 4.5 metre-long tapestry that grew out of modern artist Patrick Caulfield’s decades-long devotion to Laurence Sterne’s nine-volume novel, Tristram Shandy.
Commissioned for the British Library, and generously supported by Simon Draper, Pause on the Landing is one of two Dovecot tapestries on display at the British Library. The proposed design for the tapestry was exhibited in 1996 at the Venice Biennale for architecture, but it wasn’t until 11 years later in 2005 that weaving began.
The tapestry depicts a moment in Sterne’s novel when Tristram’s father, Walter, and his uncle Toby pause on the landing as they descend from the bedroom where Walter has been bemoaning the damage done to his son’s nose during birth.
Interpreting Caulfield’s design, the Dovecot weavers added different textures and elements to the tapestry including tassels for Uncle Toby’s crutch. Speaking of the tapestry, former Dovecot Gallery Manager Francesca Baseby noted that ‘just as the novel twists and manipulates our concept of linear time, so does Caulfield’s design’.