Physic Garden Group Tapestry
The Cordis Prize, 2016

Approx 120cm x. 70cm

Designer Natalie Taylor,

Lead Weaver Jo MacDonald

This handwoven collaborative tapestry was installed in the newly opened Palace of Holyrood House Visitor Centre in July 2021. The design is based on research about traditional 17th C plant-based medicines in Edinburgh, specifically at the Holyrood Palace Physic Garden. The three plants are ‘Selfheal, Onion, and Purple Foxglove, all widely used at the time for medicine. Among other sources I drew on the Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis, published 1683, which is the original catalogue of botanical specimens in the Edinburgh Physic Garden. The chemical formulae refer to active compounds found within these plants and are overlaid as a unifying device. The design was created in collaborative conversation with Jo MacDonald and assisted by generous advice from staff at RBGE. The original woodcuts which the plants are based on are reproduced from the Theatrum Botanicum, by John Parkinson, 1640. Jo MacDonald worked over several months of Satrudays with sixty four local amateur weavers using 62 different threads and yarns to create this handwoven participatory tapestry.

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