Bookmarks: The Art of Modern Tapestry: Dovecot Studios since 1912

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Cover of "The Art of Modern Tapestry: Dovecot Studios since 1912" by Dr Elizabeth Cumming

The Art of Modern Tapestry: Dovecot Studios since 1912 by Dr Elizabeth Cumming covers the history of Dovecot Studios from its Arts & Crafts beginnings to today, 2012, its centenary year.

Front pages of "The Art of Modern Tapestry: Dovecot Studios since 1912" by Dr Elizabeth Cumming

The book accompanies a major exhibition, Weaving The Century: Tapestry from Dovecot Studios 1912-2012, currently being held at Dovecot Studios (until 7 October 2012).

photograph looking down on Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh

Since 2009, the Studios have been housed in a most magnificent residence; Victorian swimming baths, the first to be built in Edinburgh.

Bernat Klein tapestry

Many of the tapestries produced by the weavers at Dovecot have been collaborations with painters & sculptors – a veritable Who’s Who of the modern art world – David Hockney, Stanley Spencer, Henry Moore, Eduardo Paolozzi, John Piper, Cecil Beaton, Patrick Caulfield…

Douglas Grierson tapestry

Many of these tapestries have been examples of fine art in themselves – including this breathtaking piece, Sunset over Corrib, designed by Douglas Grierson. It look like an impressionist painting… or cubist masterpiece!

Pair of tapestries which adorn the walls of St Catherine's College, Oxford University's dining hall Trio of tapestries on the walls of St Catherine's College, Oxford University's dining hall

A glance at the Studio’s commissioners & collectors give us much insight into the regard held for the excellence of  their work.  They produced coats of arms for HM Queen Elizabeth and Liberty; are in the permanent collections of museums & galleries including the V&A, Edinburgh Museums and Galleries, National Museum of Scotland, Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; have been commissioned by global organisations such as Rolls Royce, BP, IBM, London Stock Exchange; and have work that hangs on the walls of cathedrals: (Coventry, Canterbury, Glasgow), universities: (Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Sussex, Leicester) and banks: (Deutsche Bank, Santander, Chase Manhattan).

Margaret Stewart tapestry

In an effort to diversify and become more commercial, printed tiles and textiles were introduced at Dovecot. Margaret Stewart’s bird cushion cover from the 1950s looks so contemporary!

Graham Sutherland tapestry

The animal kingdom has been a recurring theme in Dovecot tapestries. Graham Sutherland’s Wading Birds (above) and Edward Bawden’s Farming (below) are two of our favourites.

Edward Bawden tapestry

 The book provides an in depth history of the Studios, The author has mined Dovecot’s archive and has uncovered &shared many gems. There are insightful interviews with weavers past & present, collaborating artists, commissioners and academics.

Available from the publishers, Lund Humphries and also on Amazon UK & US and Hive.

[Many thanks to Lund Humphries for the review copy]

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One Response to “Bookmarks: The Art of Modern Tapestry: Dovecot Studios since 1912”

  1. upcyclist1 says:

    Love those cows! Amazing colours. Who wouldn't have that on the wall!

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