Sat 12 Feb – Sat 19 Feb, 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat, Free
The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry
The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry vividly tells the story of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 from Bonnie Prince Charlie's arrival, to his invasion of England. The creation of the Tapestry has been co-ordinated by the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust, a Scottish charity which aims to preserve and interpret the famous battle site.
The record-breaking 104m long Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry was created by over 200 volunteers and was completed in July 2010 with a whistle stop tour all over Scotland, including the Highlands and Islands, following in the footsteps of the Prince himself 266 years ago.
Gareth Jones, chairman of the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust, said: “We are really pleased to see the tapestry displayed at the Storytelling Centre. The finished tapestry far exceeded our expectation and has become a wonderful tool to tell the story of the Jacobite rising in a way that really engages people – young and old. Having it here, so close to the old Netherbow gate where the Highlanders first entered Edinburgh, with such a wonderful programme of events, will help bring the story to life.”
Along with the Prestonpans Tapestry, we are also exhibiting an enigmatic piece by Christopher Rutterford entitled Jacobite Stramash, which beautifully depicts the revelry of the soldiers on 17th September 1745, just before daybreak, when Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army took Edinburgh through the Netherbow Gate that used to divide the High Street from the Canongate. Christopher is delighted to be displaying his image at such an apt time in the Centre as he explains:
“The painting is set right outside the front door of the Storytelling Centre so it really is a match made in heaven. Though Charlie won the battle of Prestonpans a few days later I think this was his greatest moment. It was done without bloodshed and the army paid for its drink. The painting is a historical imagining of an army on a celebratory piss up two hundred and sixty five years ago. It looks like a battle but it’s actually a rammy – Charlie might be posturing on his horse or it may be out of control, you decide.”
To accompany such a fantastic exhibition which brings two very different styles together, the Centre has organised events for all to interact with, and discover what lies beneath the statistics of history.
Mon 14 Feb, 12pm (3hrs), Free, All ages
The Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry: Demonstrations and Stories
Fri 18 Feb, 11am-4pm, Free, All ages
Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry Tales
The Centre begins and ends the mid-term week with two events guaranteed to bond and enthral the whole family.
On Monday 14 February, pop along to the Centre for a free afternoon of displays, demonstrations, costumes, stories and weaponry as Alan Breck’s Volunteer Regiment re-enact the taking of Edinburgh through the Netherbow Gate and capture the Scottish Storytelling Centre, transporting it back to the 1700s. Plus on Friday 18 February, Panner and storyteller Tim Porteus, accompanied by The Pans Tellers, present a free afternoon of tales and fun relating to the depictions of the tapestry, with myths guaranteed to chill, fright and delight.
Wed 16 Feb, 7pm (2hrs), £8/£6, 14+
White Cockade: Jacobite Songs & Stories
Thu 17 Feb, 7.30pm, £4/£3, 12+
Jacobite Talk and Discussion
The Centre sees in the mid-week by giving you two exciting opportunities to discover Scottish history through song, story and discussion.
Well known folky John Greig and writer/storyteller Stuart McHardy present an evening of tales and tunes on Wednesday 16 February. This dazzling duo present fabulous insight into how the Jacobites plotting, scheming and struggling to get the Stewarts back on the throne continues to inspire Scotland’s poets, songwriters, singers and storytellers. This event is also part of the City of Literature’s ‘Let’s Get Lyrical’ campaign.
Stuart McHardy returns to the Centre along with Arran Johnston, the Battle Trust’s executive trustee, to offer up valuable insight into the real people of the Jacobite era and how, through story, perspectives can be portrayed and changed.
On Thursday 17 February Stuart McHardy looks at ‘The Role of story in changing perspectives on the Jacobites’ and Arran Johnston explores ‘The Real Bonnie Prince Charlie’.
Stuart McHardy has discovered, through finding stories from the time after Culloden, that what is written as the history of the period is only half the story. He explores how historical accounts are always written to an agenda but the true audience to comment on was the people who experienced it. So through the rich oral tradition of Scotland’s inhabitants, discover the full story and hear of true experiences.
Arran Johnston has written a new biography of Charles Edward Stuart which considers the man behind the legend. He explores how the Bonnie Prince was not just a charming adventurer but a militant, political leader of an uprising which nearly brought down the British government. Arran explores Charles’ skills and abilities and questions how much of the 1745 events were down to him along and the reasons for the King’s ultimate failure.