HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall tours Prospect Hospice for embroidery unveiling

By Jamie Hill - 22 January 2020


The Embroidery was unveiled on Monday by the Hospice President, HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at the Prospect Hospice, Wroughton.

An approach was made to Marlborough and District Embroiderers’ Guild in 2015 to make a piece of embroidery to hang in the new building of the Prospect Hospice Outreach Centre at Savernake Hospital Marlborough.

The choice of poem was made by the original committee of three who recognised its connection to the Savernake Forest.  Its title is ‘All These I Learnt’ by Robert Byron 1905-1941, poet and traveller, who sometimes lived at Savernake Lodge in the Forest.  His memorial is in the churchyard of Christ Church, Cadley as he was lost at sea during the Second World War off northern Scotland and has no grave.  The poem was read by Prince Charles for National Poetry Day on BBC Radio 4 in 2006. As it celebrates Spring, Summer and Autumn most particularly these are the seasons that were chosen for the design and a purely figurative style of illustration was chosen to create a sense of peace, serenity and reflection.

The base is painted calico. The silk fabrics are Crepeline, Habotai, and Dupion. The fabrics were all hand dyed or painted. The hand stitching was done in mostly Coats Anchor threads. The machine stitching was mostly done with Mettler threads.  The silk threads were Mulberry silks and Devere Yarns. The pieces were individually drawn and painted by Margaret Heath and the silk fabrics added. The choice of threads were made and then they were handed out to members with instructions for stitches to be used. A narrow choice of stitches was used, stem long and short, running, seed, chain, French knot and fly stitch, for hand stitching. Free machining in straight and zig zag stitch.

By late spring the first individual pieces were ready to be taken home to be worked. There are over 70 individual pieces, two large trees, three butterflies and the stitched background.
Once the individual pieces were all returned they were appliquéd on to the background and blended together. The stitching started in late spring 2016. 

Over 30 members took part. Work also took place at Stitch Days in Kennet Valley Hall, Lockeridge and latterly in member’s houses. It took just over 4 years from first plans to last stitch.  Framing was done by Steven Hible at Right Angle Framing, Corsham.

The Embroidery was unveiled on the afternoon of Monday 20 January 2020 by the Hospice President, HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at the Prospect Hospice, Wroughton.  Yvonne Miles read the poem, ‘All These I Learnt’ and a group of branch members were presented to the Duchess. Margaret Heath explained the story behind the project and the techniques used.

Stitchers and supporters of the Savernake Embroidery

Margaret Heath (designer and manager)
Jackie Bagg
Barbara Barr
Deena Beverley
Julie Burchett
Maureen Bull
Vernice Church
Chris Cook
Gwen Earl
Susan Ford
Maria Fraser
Jean Freakley
Margaret Gow
Stella Hall
Ann Hastie
Rosemary Hawes
Christine Hill
Sally James
Ann Johnson
Judy Joiner
Diana King
Ann Kingdon
Lorrain Lockwood
Ros Lomas
Yvonne Miles
Hazel Morris
Stephanie Nichols
Hazel Partridge
Audrey Peck
Cathy Pollard
Clare Russell
Lindsay Sherwood
Ann Smith
Jane Smith
Susanne Stedman
Linda Wells
Sarah Wicks

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