Modern Magna Carta is created with the help of a Whittlesey artist

Artist Janet Payne from Whittlesey in her studio. Janet working on her homage to Lowry. Picture: Ste

Artist Janet Payne from Whittlesey in her studio. Janet working on her homage to Lowry. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A massive art project recreating the Magna Carta in embroidery form has been worked on by a Whittlesey artist.

Artist Janet Payne from Whittlesey in her studio. Piece of Janets embroidery work for the Magna Cart

Artist Janet Payne from Whittlesey in her studio. Piece of Janets embroidery work for the Magna CarterPicture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The embroidery is nearly 13 metres long and involved 200 people hand-stitching portions of the work including prison inmates, civil rights campaigners, MPs, lawyers, barons and artists.

Joining the sewing team was 69 year old Janet Payne who graduated from St Martin’s University in 1997 at the age of 50.

She said: “The finished piece looks fantastic, like a modern Bayeux Tapestry. It was an honour to work on it.”

She was selected to join by renowned artist Cornelia Parker and was chosen for being an accomplished member of the Embroidery Guild, known to many artists for being at St Martin’s.


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Mrs Payne said: “I was there in the year that Stella McCartney graduated, it was a lot of fun, a lot of hard work, but an amazing opportunity to study as a mature student.”

As a fine art professional specialising in art, sculpture and embroidery, Mrs Payne has also had work displayed this summer at the Royal Academy.

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The Magna Carta embroidery is now touring and is being displayed in Manchester.

Much of the work was done by 36 prisoners from 13 different prisons in England, under the supervision of the social enterprise Fine Cell Work.

Members of the Embroiderers’ Guild contributed the images as did students from the Royal School of Needlework and the embroidery company Hand & Lock.

Many celebrities and public figures also contributed, stitching phrases or words of special significance to them.

The work includes a tea stain from a prisoner and a spot of blood from Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who accidentally pricked his finger while sewing.

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