The Mount Felix Tapestry
Opening July 5th 2019.
The Mount Felix Tapestry is a body of work containing 44 embroidered panels that depict some of the moving personal stories of New Zealand soldiers, nurses and doctors welcomed in the community at the New Zealand No. 2 General Hospital, Walton on Thames between 1915 and 1920. The exhibition was the idea of Emily Boulting, Artistic Director at the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre in Walton on Thames who wanted to acknowledge the 27,000 wounded NZ soldiers who were treated in the hospital in Walton during the course of WWI and so brought together locals from the area to research the many wonderful stories that could be told via the tapestries. These researchers were ably assisted by the Family History Centre in Kew along with organisations in both the UK and New Zealand.
Emily then engaged the artist, Andrew Crummy who designed each of the panels following research at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Imperial War Museum to name a few organisations and then a group of ‘stitchers’ from the wider community were brought together to produce the work.
The Mount Felix Tapestry was launched at the Riverhouse Barn on Anzac Day, 25 April 2015 and at the final count, 603 volunteer stitchers had taken part and more than 5,500 hours of embroidery had been worked. Stitchers came from all walks of life including Andrew Crummy, the Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, embroiderer’s guilds, genealogy groups, Elmbridge Borough Council, local schools, Girl Guide groups, local residents, the Women’s Institute, Church groups including the Christchurch Nurses’ Chapel in NZ, the NZ Women’s Association in London, and even British soldiers rehabilitating from war injuries (Afghanistan).