Magnifique et Formidable ... Yes, they're the words in Pornichet ....

First International Exposition attracts more than 3000 visiteurs close to the beach from which the Prince set sail in 1745 ..

It's always been the Trust's goal to take our Tapestry to all the locations that were involved in the '45 - and many more besides whenever interest is high. And the location surrounding Brittany's St Nazaire, which of course includes blissfully beautiful Pornichet, is but where the latest exhibition has been held. More than 600 Breton visitors braved fierce winds on Sunday last [April 29th & Day 1] to see the Prestonpans Tapestry.

C’est juste ce que nous voulions!

The Exhibition in Pornichet, which runs for a week and had already seen more than 3000 vistors by Day 5, was officially opened by the Maire of the city, M. Robert Belliot. He recalled the area's many connections with Scotland. Not least amongst these, and the reason why this particular exhibition is the first outside the UK, was because Bonnie Prince Charlie embarked from St Nazaire to sail to Scotland in du Teillay and begin his campaign in 1745.

The particular panel telling this part of the story was embroidered in France by Jenny Unwin and attracted much attention from visitors - and the Maire - pictured below [left] with Mme Belliot and Gordon Prestoungrange. Beneath, also pictured in front of the Nantes/ St Nazaire panel is Charles Edouard Walsh de Serrant, the current descendant of d'Antoine Walsh who supplied the Prince's two ships du Teillay and L'Elisabeth. He is pictured alongside the two ships anchored at Belle Isle. d'Antoine Walsh sailed with the Prince on the du Teillay as far as Arisaig in June 1745.

But the Exhibition was also an opportunity for two highly active arts communities to support and share in our celebrations.

20 members of Pipes and Drums of Brittany, Askol ha Brug, welcomed visitors throughout Sunday morning.

Later in the week on Wednesday Les Brodereuses, the Embroiderers, [including - below - French National Award winning brodereuse Mme. Celine Le Belz herself from Brittany] held an all day Symposium at the exhibition.

The Tapestry's journey from Scotland was accomplished in the Fowler's Ales camionette driven by Arran Johnston who has been responsible for all 20 exhibitions now since July 2010 when it first toured the Highlands.

There are many Scottish connections with St Nazaire in addition to Bonnie Prince Charlie, not least the commandos role in Operation Chariot in WW2 that destroyed the dry dock there. St Nazaire's ship yards were also established by Scots [one John Scott in fact] in the mid 19th century.

Dr Gordon Prestoungrange was the official representative of the Battle Trust and spent two years in discussion with the local Breton community groups. They began from a chance meeting with Nigel Willis [whose great grandfather John Scott create the St Nazaire shipyards in the time of Napoleon III] at the Tapestry's Dunblane Cathedral Exhibition in 2010. Nigel Willis' advice led to meetings with Jean Cevaer and community groups in Pornichet/ St Nazaire which have been responsible for all the arrangments that have been made. The Trust owes them a great debt of gratitude for their support and fine hospitality throughout. On Thursday evening a public lecture by Jean Cevaer and a showing of the French language version of the animated tapestry DVD drew some 80 guests

John Unwin's new 'TinTin' format book attracts its first customers ..

Clearly to present the tapestry in France [and further visits are already scheduled for 2013!] the Trust had to create some French language information. John Unwin, the Trust's publisher and printer, is a longstandng fan of TinTin books and made the chance suggestion that the tapestry was ready made for such treatment.

And so it came to pass that for Pornichet both the French and the English editions were published ...delivered just in time to John who was present of course. Jean Cevaer had also kindly prepared a detail leaflet in French for visitors.

The final initiative was to present/ exhibit the 'seven' whiskies and the Drambuie that the Prince would encounter today if he re-travelled the route taken in 1745. Seven Men of Moidart - Seven Whiskies of the Prince!

Pornichet's Hippodrome was a magificent location ... and the horses trotted for us too as the sun shone for much of the week after that windy first day ...

Apart from Arran Johnston and Gordon Prestoungrange, the Trust was represented by embroiderers Jacqueline Fawcett [#44] with husband David, Jenny Unwin [#3] with author-husband John, and Avril Wills [#30]. Sylvia Burgess and Sarah Samways also joined the team in the second half of the week.

Our 'official' thanks to Pornichet from the Baron of Prestoungrange

"Monsieur le Maire, c’est un grand plaisir être ici en Pornichet ou le Bonnie Prince Charlie de la légende se lançait dans sa campagne audacieuse, presque victorieuse, reconquérir le royaume de son père. C’était en juin, mille sept cent quarante cinq. Et notre Fondation de la Bataille de Prestonpans sera toujours reconnaissant de votre soutien, et de tous votre collègues en Pornichet, être d’accord présenter cette Exposition la semaine à venir.

"Le Prince de la legende encontre difficultes plus considerables obtenir l’appui et le soutien des allies français dedans notre Vielle Alliance, mais aujourd’hui nous n’en avons pas !

"Et Monsieur le Maire, vous savez que c’est seulement en raison de l’enthousiasme et l’énergie de Monsieur Jean Cevaer, qui fait faire le nécessaire, que nous sommes ici, prêt, prêt a exposer.

"Egalement, de l’Ecosse, je veux reconnaître le rôle essentiel de mon propre collègue Arran Johnston, un Prince véritable soi-même! Il représente plus que notre Prince. Il faisait faire le nécessaire pour toutes nos expositions depuis juillet deux mille dix. Et il est le Prince qui comprends conduire notre camionnette.

"Notre tapisserie raconte l’histoire des temps très significatif. Elle raconte aussi encore de plus liens entre Pornichet, Saint Nazaire, Bretagne et l’Ecosse. Elle raconte de la dernière traite d’appui entre l’Ecosse et la France à Fontainebleau en Octobre mille sept cent quarante cinq.

"Notre tapisserie est aussi une triomphe de l’art communautaire et de la broderie. C’était la Tapisserie de la Reine Matilde - à Bayeux depuis le siècle onzième – que donne envie à nous en Prestonpans. Déjà elle a mis en valeur la haute estime à Prestonpans ou demeure la plupart des bordureuses. A travers Haute Ecosse aussi, quand nous disons : « Plutôt que de nous regarder, viens nous aider », personne dit « Non », mais toujours « Oui ». C’était la même réponse ici en Pornichet !

"Cette tapisserie est l’œuvre de plus que deux cents bordureuses qui y travaillaient six mois … pour l’Ecosse. La pièce particulière de Nantes et Saint Nazaire – numéro trois – était brode par Mme Jenny Unwin. La pièce numéro trente était brode par ma femme Avril, et numéro quarante quatre par Mme Jacqueline Fawcett – toutes trois ici aujourd’hui.

"Mais Monsieur le Maire, peut-être vous me demande pourquoi, avec notre belle tapisserie, nous amenons de l’Ecosse sept whiskies, pur malt, et une liqueur, la Drambuie? Il y a deux explications.

"Première, nos amis hongrois insistent que le Prince doit couvrir sa peine quand sa campagne échouait. Second, et plus important, les pur malts et la Drambuie offrent l’opportunité célébrer plus tarde L’Esperance, L’Ambition et La Victoire a Prestonpans d’un jeune homme, Le Prince Charles Edouard Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie.

"Nous espérons très beaucoup que les habitants de Pornichet, de Saint Nazaire, de Nantes et encore mieux tous les Bretons, pouvant visiter ici cette semaine prochaine, et pouvant s’amuser.

"Pour finir Monsieur le Maire nos remerciements, merci mille fois pour ce que vous, et Monsieur Jean Cevaer, avez fait ici pour notre Fondation de la Bataille de Prestonpans.

"C’est juste ce que nous voulions!"

Published Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Prestonpans Tapestry created by Prestoungrange Arts Festival and the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust in support of the campaign for a Living History Centre in Prestonpans.
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