Worked by Mary Queen of Scots
Museum no. T.33J-1955
This panel of linen canvas is embroidered in silks in cross stitch, bordered with fragments of gold tissue and mounted on a silk velvet ground. It has the monogram MR for Maria Regina. Mary Queen of Scots embroidered it with a number of others during her time of imprisonment in England. Needlework provided her with a practical occupation and it was also an outlet for her to express the frustation of her situation, her choice of subject matter including many mottoes and emblems representing courage in adversity. She also depicted various subjects from natural history and in this case has copied an illustration from the 1560 edition of Conrad Gesner's Icones Animalium. The dark silk with which the ape was embroidered has partially decayed, exposing the drawing out of the design on the canvas ground.