The Ros Tapestry Lovers

Michelle Obama Views  Ros Tapestry Panel at Farmleigh May 2011

New Ross, July 8th 2014

Dear friends the Embroiderers of the Ros Tapestry,

As you know very well, I am the artist, creator of the Ros Tapestry Cartoons. After long historical studies, I have painted the cartoons you are using to stitch the Tapestries. Moreover, the Tapestries would not be possible without the training, advices and help you have received from Alexis, and the work she has continued with you during now 15 years. During several years also, she was continuing that work without any help of the Board, State or County.

All of you have realised a wonderful work, which has been admired far from Irish shores. In order to give more publicity to the Tapestry I had also participated in many interviews, reviews, papers, televisions and radios. I was also invited to give Conferences to different International Meetings. These actions helped the Tapestry’s reputation. As I said, that historical and artistic work is now well known all over the world. It is considered as a National Treasure. This is why the Ros Tapestry was acclaimed by the President Barack Obama and Michelle during their only one-day visit in Ireland two years ago. Subsequently the Office of Public Works asked permission to exhibit the Tapestry at Farmleigh, it was also exhibited at Brussels.

It is perfectly clear that the future of the Tapestry is of a particular importance for Alexis and I. I have no doubt also that you are all extremely interested in the future fate of the Ros Tapestry.

We hear that a meeting will be held on the 15th of July at Brandon Hotel at 7h30 PM. Apparently certain stitchers were informed. The subject proposed by the Board of Directors of the Ros Tapestry is very important since it unbelievably concerns a possible change of the name of the Association. In this case the “Ros Tapestry” should be named the “New Ross Needlecraft Limited”! The Ros Tapestry name, which is famous after such long and devoted effort would disappear.

At this point I would like to make four comments.

First, we got no notice of this meeting. Our exclusion from such a crucial discussion is appalling. Managerial behaviour of this kind represents another proof of the lack of respect by the Board of the Irish Law related to the Intellectual Property: all artists possess a Copy Right on all their artistic production which obliges any one not to diminish in any way its integral identity.

Second, I understand why that proposal is suggested. All of you should be informed that the management of the Ros Tapestry is unfortunate. The actual result is that the magnificent Tapestry is now exhibited in a totally unsuitable building locally described as a “rat hole”. Company Auditing Report for the Ros Tapestry published by CRO, indicates a level of debt of over  € 100 000. I will not go to the details of this management since the mentioned website ( explains with accuracy the situation. Since some members of the Board have already suggested the sale of the Company’s assets (i.e. Tapestries) in order to handle the debts, I am naturally disturbed. Could the suggestion that the name of the Tapestry should be changed have to do with the shape of that grim possibility? In this case the integrity of the Tapestry would be irretrievably destroyed and the History of our Norman phenomenon definitively damaged. Moreover, a “needlecraft” title could permit to include in the exhibition completely irrelevant embroideries. This would affect the artistic work I have created.

Of course that dreadful situation can’t continue. No sponsors will accept to pay the enormous debts and handle with sufficient care and technical knowledge the Tapestry. It is obvious that only a State or semi State Organisation will be in a position to manage properly, organise efficient advertising and find a convenient location and employees. Finally, the Tapestry could find an attractive place where tourists will have the pleasure to discover the Artistic Treasure of the Country. That transfer into safe hands has to be prepared immediately.  We would of course be ready to discuss all eventualities of this kind.

Personally, I am a peaceful person. However, I know that the actual difficulties of the Tapestry are well known in different countries. It would be wise to be aware that the Tapestry lovers cannot be expected to tolerate any longer damage to a world artistic heritage. Their reactions could be extremely radical.

Warm regards,

Ann Bernstorff


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