Tapestry panel stolen from Kirkcaldy Galleries has yet to be found

The Rosslyn Chapel panel that has been stolen from Kirkcaldy Galleries. Pic: Alex Hewitt
The Rosslyn Chapel panel that has been stolen from Kirkcaldy Galleries. Pic: Alex Hewitt

Police are continuing their investigations this week after a panel from the Great Tapestry of Scotland was stolen from Kirkcaldy Galleries.

The panel illustrating the story of Rosslyn Chapel was removed from the display at around 10am last Thursday.

Now a week on from the theft officers are continuing to work with Fife Cultural Trust in a bid to track down the missing panel, and CCTV footage is being reviewed.

And members of the public who may have any information about the theft of the panel, which measures around one metre by half a metre, are asked to contact the police.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland, which is one of the biggest community projects in the world, has been on display at the galleries since June and the display is due to close its doors to the public on Sunday.

During its time in the Lang Toun over 50,000 people have been to see the 160 individual panels.

The panel was designed by artist Andrew Crummy and lovingly stitched by seven volunteers in Midlothian. The panel took around 500 hours to stitch and there was a great deal of research undertaken by the group.

Laurie Piper, from Fife Cultural Trust, said: “The people of Fife have taken the tapestry to their hearts and we are now hoping that they will help us to bring it back where it belongs - alongside its 159 companions.”

Alexander McCall Smith, co-chairman of The Great Tapestry of Scotland, said: “This is a terrible blow for a project that has brought so much joy to so many people.

“Words cannot express how shocked I am that somebody should damage in this way what is now widely seen as a great national treasure.”

When asked if the panel would be restitched, Jan Rutherford, on behalf of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, said: “We still hope that it won’t come to that and that the panel will be returned quickly and in good condition.

“The stitchers involved would need to think long and hard about restitching.

“It is a massive undertaking from a group who have already given so much.

“You could never recreate the panel exactly as it was - just as you could never recreate a lost painting exactly as it was.

“But at the same time the thought of an exhibition of The Great Tapestry of Scotland without this panel is very painful indeed.”

Chapel panel was taken

The central image on the panel that has been stolen is of the Apprentice Column in Rosslyn Chapel.

For those who don’t know, the story goes that the master mason went off to research work on similar columns elsewhere and while he was away the apprentice started and indeed completed the column to a very high standard.

The master mason was so angry that he killed the apprentice.

The panel also depicts the carvings of angels seen in the chapel and the one of the ‘green men’.