Scottish artist Craigie Aitchison CBE RA RSA (1926-2009) was well known for his paintings depicting landscapes, portraits, and crucifixion scenes in a distinctive Mediterranean palette. Inspired by a large painting of the crucifixion, which was commissioned by the Duchess of Westminster, Aitchison worked with Dovecot Master Weaver David Cochrane to choose a detail of the painting to be woven as a tapestry.
Although not pious, Aitchison was drawn to the spirit and theatre of Catholicism. Following a comment from an art tutor that the crucifixion as a subject matter was ‘too serious’ for him, the artist pursued this theme throughout his career, depicting the scene in various works.
The Crucifixion tapestry represents Aitchison’s style in terms of the vivid colours and the quite simple forms of the figures. The figure of Christ is justified to the right of the tapestry, allowing the space to be widely occupied with a burst of yellow and orange, typical of the artist’s palette.