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  • Cornelia Parker with a fragment of Magna Carta (An Embroidery) in the British Library (Photo: Tony Antoniou)

Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

Cornelia Parker enlists 200 individuals to create a Magna Carta embroidery

The 13 metre-long embroidery depicts the Wikipedia page of the Magna Carta on the document’s 799th birthday and its display at the British Library marks its 800th. Cornelia Parker selected the 200 contributors who include Edward Snowden, Jimmy Wales, Jarvis Cocker and Baroness Doreen Lawrence as well as prison inmates working with Fine Cell Work, students at the Royal School of Needlework and Hand & Lock. 

‘I wanted to create a portrait of our age,’ says Parker, 'All these people have their own opinions about democracy today and I thought carefully about the words they should stitch. For instance, Baroness Warsi, Eliza Manningham-Buller, Julian Assange and numerous prisoners have all stitched the word ‘freedom’, but all have different relationships to it…I love the idea of taking something digital and making it into an analogue, hand-crafted thing. I wanted the embroidery to raise questions about where we are now with the principles laid down in the Magna Carta, and about the challenges to all kinds of freedoms that we face in the digital age. Like a Wikipedia article, this embroidery is multi-authored and full of many different voices.'

Magna Carta (An Embroidery) is at the British Library until 24 July


Detail from 'Magna Carta (An Embroidery)' by Cornelia Parker being hand stitched by Embroiderers' Guild member Anthea Godfrey (Photo: Joseph Turp)