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Art & Photography, Art, Culture & Music, History
Publication Date
03 September 2013
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited
Colour throughout

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Making of a Masterpiece
by Susan Mansfield and Alistair Moffat - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

‘This remarkable teamwork has made Andrew Crummy’s artistic vision a reality, and The Great Tapestry of Scotland is now a gift to the nation’ – Edinburgh Life

'[T]he most ambitious attempt to capture the past in needle and thread since the Bayeux Tapestry . . . The result is not just visually stunning but intensely moving and occasionally very funny' – The Times

This is the story behind the making of The Great Tapestry of Scotland – the story of drawing history, finding wools and linens, searching for stitchers, stunning embroidery and a world-record beating work of art.

The brainchild of bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith, historian Alistair Moffat, and artist Andrew Crummy, the Great Tapestry of Scotland is an outstanding celebration of Scottish history and achievement from the end of the last Ice Age to the 21st century. More than 1,000 volunteer stitchers, led by stitch coordinator Dorie Wilkie, worked for 55,000 hours using 300 miles of wool to create the 160 panels of this extraordinary work of art.

Using a range of embroidery skills and working on Scottish linen, men, women and youngsters from every corner of the country translated Andrew Crummy’s artwork into a colourful, skilful and textural depiction of the history of Scotland and in doing so recorded a remarkable people’s story.



This is the first of two complementary books published by Birlinn to celebrate the launch of the Great Tapestry of Scotland. Featuring photographs of the work in its various stages of completion, along with a selection of the finished panels and Andrew Crummy’s designs, this book tells the story of the biggest community arts project ever to have taken place in Scotland.

The companion tapestry book, due to be published in November, will feature full-colour photographs of each of the completed panels, accompanied by explanatory material about the history behind each.

Andrew Crummy has worked for New Musical Express, The Observer magazine, Design Week, Creative Review and Time Out magazine. He has developed multiple large-scale, collaborative artworks in public and community settings across the world, and has been involved in a huge range of book publications, multimedia events, festivals and educational programmes.

Alistair Moffat is a former Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Director of Programmes at Scottish Television. He now runs the Borders and Lennoxlove book festivals and is currently Rector of St Andrews University. He has written numerous books, including Tuscany, The Faded Map, The Sea Kingdoms, The Borders and The Scots: A Genetic Journey, all of which are published by Birlinn.

Susan Mansfield is a journalist and writer. She grew up in Aberdeenshire and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and the Graduate Centre for Journalism, City University, London. She has written about the Arts in Scotland for more than 20 years. In 2001, she joined the staff of The Scotsman and has written for the paper across the Arts, with a particular interest in art, literature and theatre. She now lives in the west of Scotland, and has been known to pick up an embroidery needle occasionally.