“Cries from the Tower” by Barbara Campbell

  • ©, Barbara Campbell, Cries from the Tower
  • Photo from Facebook. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


    Cries from the Tower

Artist(s) and People Involved:




Artist Statement:

    Mary Stuart was removed from her subjects for the last 14 years of her life. She spent most of her period of incarceration alternately writing letters to rally support for her release and embroidering tapestries of exotic and mystical beasts.

    “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair to me” -German fairy tale

    She was executed on the 8th of February, 1587. Her English captors went to great lengths to dispose of blood-stained remnants of the act so that no holy relics could circulate and inspire a Scottish backlash.

    “I felt in my hands and in my heart a confused, singular, continual, sensual desire to bury my fingers in this charming rivulet of dead hair.” -Guy de Maupassant, A Woman’s Hair.

    When the executioner held aloft the dead Queen’s head, the auburn tresses in his hand came apart from the skull and the head fell to the floor, revealing her real, prematurely greyed hair.

    “All your hair, Melisande, all your hair is falling from the tower! I am holding it in my hands, against my mouth, in my arms… It lives like birds between my fingers, and it loves me, loves me more than you”. -Maeterlinck, PePeas et Melisande


All Works by the Artist(s) in This Archive: