Edward Snowden, Brian Eno, Jarvis Cocker and Others Hand-Stitch Magna Carta Wikipedia Page

Snowden stitched the word "freedom."

Cornelia Parker with a fragment of Magna Carta (An Embroidery) in the British Library
Photo: Tony Antoniou

Turner Prize winner Cornelia Parker has created a 13-meter long (over 46 feet) embroidery of the Wikipedia page of the Magna Carta in celebration of its 800th Anniversary. The huge needlework was created with the help of many famous hands from Edward Snowden, Brain Eno, Jarvis Cocker to various politicians and figures from the media.

The work, commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford, went on display at the British Library in London yesterday.

“Wikipedia is a kind of embroidery, it’s very subjective with many contributions and anybody can add their bit,” said Parker of the project, “I wanted the embroidery to raise questions about where we are now with the principles laid down in the Magna Carta, and about the challenges to all kinds of freedoms that we face in the digital age.”

Jarvis Cocker stitched 'Common People' on Cornelia Parker's <i>Magna Carta (An Embroidery)</i> <br /> Photo: Joseph Turpf Courtesy of The British Library

Jarvis Cocker stitched ‘Common People’ on Cornelia Parker’s Magna Carta (An Embroidery)
Photo: Joseph Turpf Courtesy of The British Library

Snowden stitched the word “freedom,” Parker herself chose “prerogative,” and Cocker chose to look back to his biggest hit song with the phrase “Common People.” The main stitching work, however, was done by around 40 prisoners working with Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework.

Drawn up in 1215, the Magna Carta is currently on display alongside the US Declaration of Independence (see British Library Will Show US Declaration of Independence).

There are thought to only be four copies of the Magna Carta, although a rare 1300 revision of the document worth £10 million was discovered in Kent County Council archives earlier this year (see Rare Copy of Magna Carta (Not the Jay-Z Record) Worth $15 Million Found in Sandwich).

Part of a series of articles on Monarchy stitched by Kate Barlow, Angela Bishop, Rachel Doyle, Belinda Egginton, Amanda Ewing, Susan Kay-Williams and Annalee Levin, Royal School of Needlework. Part of Cornelia Parker’s Magna Carta (An Embroidery) at the British Library.Photo: Courtesy © British Library

Part of a series of articles on Monarchy stitched by Kate Barlow, Angela Bishop, Rachel Doyle, Belinda Egginton, Amanda Ewing, Susan Kay-Williams and Annalee Levin, Royal School of Needlework. Part of Cornelia Parker’s Magna Carta (An Embroidery) at the British Library.
Photo: Courtesy © British Library

Magna Carta (An Embroidery) is on display from May 15 to July 24 at the British Library as part of their celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share