Embroidering Her Truth

Mary, Queen of Scots and the Language of Power

Clare Hunter author


Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton

Published:19th Jan '23


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Embroidering Her Truth cover

I felt that Mary was there, pulling at my sleeve, willing me to appreciate the artistry, wanting me to understand the dazzle of the material world that shaped her.

At her execution Mary, Queen of Scots wore red. Widely known as the colour of strength and passion, it was in fact worn by Mary as the Catholic symbol of martyrdom.

In sixteenth-century Europe women's voices were suppressed and silenced. Even for a queen like Mary, her prime duty was to bear sons. In an age when textiles expressed power, Mary exploited them to emphasise her female agency. From her lavishly embroidered gowns as the prospective wife of the French Dauphin to the fashion dolls she used to encourage a Marian style at the Scottish court and the subversive messages she embroidered in captivity for her supporters, Mary used textiles to advance her political agenda, affirm her royal lineage and tell her own story.

In this eloquent cultural biography, Clare Hunter exquisitely blends history, politics and memoir to tell the story of a queen in her own voice.

In this charmed feat of imagination and learning, the beauties and disasters of Mary Stuart's life unfold again, and her nimble brain and fingers are alive. It is a personal project, with the flavour of a memoir, but dense with fascinating information that the less inspired might miss. Clare Hunter is at ease in this glittering, alien world, and moves through it as a woman, with Mary's 'joyouestie' in mind as well as her suffering. -- Hilary Mantel (January 2022)
[A] densely packed, elegantly written book . . . Embroidering Her Truth is another brilliant achievement of top tier Scottish non-fiction. It's an additional pleasure to read historical biography sourcing so many expert women * Scotsman *
A quirky but absolutely fascinating read * Scottish Field *
An intimate portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots * The Quilter *
With her engaging style, [Hunter] offers a tantalising glimpse into Mary's world through the prism of the textiles that surrounded her . . . Throughout the book, Hunter's passion, knowledge and experience of working with textiles shine through . . . Hunter's approach of memoir blended with history and material culture captivates the reader from the first page and enthrals to the last * BBC History Magazine *

ISBN: 9781529346282

Dimensions: 196mm x 128mm x 32mm

Weight: 317g

416 pages