The Magna Carta, 800 Years Young

Next year marks the 800th birthday of the Magna Carta – the historical charter sealed by King John at Runnymede in June 1215 that spurred the development of constitutional law in England and beyond. Celebrations leading up to the anniversary are planned throughout the world, but the real question is: What do you get for the ancient document that has everything? Rhoda Nevins, member of the UK’s Royal School of Needlework, has the answer. The embroiderer was commissioned to create a 10-panel tapestry depicting the spread of law and order throughout England and the rest of the world.

Several of the panels will depict English locales – Bury St. Edmunds, St. Albans, Runnymede, London and Canterbury. One panel will feature the colorful shields of the 25 barons present at the Magna Carta’s sealing. The rest depict places in the Commonwealth or that once belonged to the British Empire: the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and Africa. Those panels will feature historically significant figures like Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington and Nelson Mandela. The hand-embroidered tapestry is expected to be completed before the Magna Carta’s big day next June.

“It’s such an honor to have been asked to create this piece to celebrate this historic event,” Nevins says.