An alternative biography of Mary, Queen of Scots through the textiles of her life from the author of Sunday Times bestseller Threads of Life
At her execution Mary, Queen of Scots wore scarlet. Perennially misunderstood as an act of defiance or a colour associated with lust and passion; Mary in fact wore red as the Catholic colour of martyrs.
In sixteenth-century Europe women voices were suppressed and silenced. Even as a queen, Mary's only value was in her ability to bear sons, so she used the sophisticated language of textiles, embroidery and colour to advance her political agenda, affirm her royal lineage and tell her own story. From the lavishly embroidered gowns made for her as the prospective wife to the Dauphin of France, to the church furnishings she imported from Catholic France to Protestant Scotland, from the fashion dolls she used to encourage a Marian style at the Scottish court to the subversive messages she embroidered from captivity for her supporters, the textiles Mary wore, displayed, gifted and created were redolent with political intent.
In this eloquent alternative biography of Mary, Queen of Scots Clare Hunter, author of the bestselling Threads of Life, exquisitely blends history, politics and memoir to show how Mary's story illuminates issues relevant today about the position of women, religious division and national identity.
Select praise for THREADS OF LIFE:
An inspiring and moving sideways look at history - Sunday Express
A beautifully considered book . . .Clare Hunter has managed to mix the personal with the political with moving results'
Triumphant - Mail on Sunday
Astonishing . . . so well written - Times Literary Supplement
It's an astonishing feat, this patchwork quilt of history, culture and politics, which takes us from Saxon England to colonised African tribes, Palestinian villages, rural China and the cramped homes of American slaves . . . Her highly impressive debut is a richly textured and moving record of a history that has largely being lost. - Sunday Times
Clare Hunter has been a banner-maker, community textile artist and textile curator for over twenty years and has established the community enterprise NeedleWorks in Glasgow. She was a finalist for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, and had a story published in its 2017 Annual. She was also a recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2016. Her first book, Threads of Life, won the Saltire First Book Award.