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Princess Grace Irish Library Monaco presents Ann Griffin Bernstorff

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Par PGIL Rédigé le 29/09/2010 (dernière modification le 29/09/2010)

THE ROS TAPESTRY: A Tale Told in Thread
A Presentation by Countess Ann Griffin Bernstorff

Tuesday 9th November 2010 at 20:00

Princess Grace Irish Library Monaco presents Ann Griffin Bernstorff

Ann Griffin Bernstorff is best known for her imaginative and idiosyncratic works. Born and raised in Limerick, she won the prestigious Taylor Art Scholarship in 1963 which allowed her to study under Yves Brayer at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. When she returned to Dublin, she trained and worked as a picture restorer for some years until she met her late husband Count Gunner Bernstorff of Denmark.

Ann’s approach to her work is both methodical and measured, unsurprising for an artist who identifies with early Flemish artists and also American portrait painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her paintings of children convey a debt to these American artists with their portraits of plump, pale figures and large, flat faces peering out from elaborate clothing. Ann also admires and is influenced by the work of Botticelli, the Italian primitives and the Limbourg Brothers, Dutch medieval miniaturist painters active in early fifteenth century France. Her imaginative and unique works which are painstakingly researched to be as historically accurate as possible appear naïve at first. However, on closer inspection one sees the elaborate and stylised costumes of her subjects and the rich allegory of the works. Inspiration and reference for these compositions comes from Anne’s fascination with history and her important collection of antique textiles, costumes and dolls housed in a museum at her Georgian mansion in County Wexford, Ireland.


The Ros Tapestry depicts events around the Anglo-Norman arrival in south-eastern Ireland, specifically the founding of the town of New Ross by William Marshall and Isabel de Clare. Initiated in 1998, the tapestries were completed ten years later. The appeal of embroidery is its beguiling attention to detail. Teams of embroiderers gathered throughout the county of Wexford and nearby Kilkenny to interpret the fifteen cartoons researched in depth and painted by Ann. They sat at a long frame and stitched the details of landscape — distant hills, rippling water and rough foregrounds using French and bullion knots, satin and chain stitch. Folds of dress fabric are done in couching skilfully adapted to reproduce the complicated pleats. Faces are embroidered in smooth long and short stitch.

Where possible, the panels were embroidered at venues associated with the historical content of the cartoon. For example, "The Siege of Wexford" was stitched at the Irish National Heritage Centre at Ferrycarraig just outside Wexford Town.

The sewing of each panel was overseen by Alexis Bernstorff — Ann’s daughter — who has trained extensively in the area of embroidery and restoration; her eye for detail ensured the correct colours for the era and that the characters and locations are in keeping with historical context.


Entry 10 Euro per person payable at the door. Reservation essential due to limited number of seats. The street doors will be closed at 20:00 sharp.

Princess Grace Irish Library
9 rue Princesse Marie-de-Lorraine
T 377 93 50 12 25
F 377 93 50 66 65

Under the aegis of the Fondation Princesse Grace

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