With 2017 being VisitScotland’s Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology, it’s the perfect time to uncover a piece of the past at Drumlanrig Castle.
The tapestry named ‘Queen of the East’ – which is the last in a trilogy of late 17th century tapestry panels – depicts a captive royal female who is restrained by a guard being brought before the Roman Emperor Aurelian. The three panels are themed around the story of the third-century AD Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, and the tapestry on display illustrates her in front of the Roman Emperor after her final defeat at the Battle of Emesa in 272 AD.
It is housed in The State Bedchamber on the first floor of Drumlanrig Castle, which takes its name from an uninvited guest, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, who caused quite a stir during his retreat North in 1745.
The Prince’s 2,000 Highlanders bedded down on straw in the Castle, slaughtered sheep at the foot of the stairs and broke down doors before the Prince sliced Kneller’s equestrian portrait on the staircase.
The room remains a bedroom, with striking wallpaper and a rosewood four-poster bed for visitors to view – but this year the room will also showcase the rare tapestry as a top cover on the bed.
The Castle is open for tours until Thursday 31 August, meaning visitors just have a few weeks left to catch a glimpse of this intricate tapestry.
Claire Oram, Castle Manager at Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate, said: “A tour of Drumlanrig Castle offers visitors an intimate taste of life through the centuries as the rooms are home to stunning treasures, from paintings to tapestries, which each have a story to tell. We uncover more and more each year from the internationally acclaimed Buccleuch Art Collection and it’s great that we can share the tale of this ‘Queen of the East’ tapestry in our Bonnie Prince Charlie Bedroom.” The Estate is open to visitors from 10am – 5pm daily through to 30 September. The Castle is open for tours until 31 August.