Conservators have uncovered details hidden by four centuries of dirt

The cleaning of an Elizabethan tapestry map has revealed what may be the earliest depiction of the Rollright Stones, a series of Neolithic and Bronze Age megaliths in the English Midlands, says Maggie Wood, the keeper of social history at Warwickshire Museum. What appears to be a small stone circle is now visible in the lower right-hand corner of the Sheldon Tapestry Map of Warwickshire. Other details, including tiny cottages nestled among the trees, are also now visible. The textile was cleaned and conserved in 2011 in preparation for its inclusion in the British Museum’s exhibition “Shakespeare: Staging the World” (until 25 November).
The tapestry, along with four other textile maps (one of which is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London), was commissioned in the late 1580s by Ralph Sheldon for his stately home in Long Compton, near the stones. The textile was bought in 1781 by Horace Walpole and passed through various hands before entering the collection of the Warwickshire Museum in the 1960s.


Emily Sharpe
The Art Newspaper