They Fly Higher Who To The Summit Strive

A Postcard to West Dean is a hand-woven tapestry made at the West Dean Tapestry Studio in 1986. Now a main feature of the College's dining hall, the piece was commissioned to commemorate Edward James's death and acknowledge his support and ambition for West Dean College. The tapestry also reflects James' maternal heritage and represents various motifs and emblems that celebrate his life and work.

The Latin text reads altius ibunt, qui ad summa nituntur which translates as 'They Fly Higher Who to the Summit Strive'. This was the family motto of Edward James' mother, Evelyn James (née Forbes), and was adopted by Edward James to encapsulate the ethos that he sought to engender at West Dean College.

The hand-writing is Edward James's own, sourced from the Archives at the College, and the colour is a typical example of that used in James' own correspondence to friends and associates. The birds represent James' love of nature, and the stars are a recurring motif across James' activity - from interior decoration, book design, and architecture. The coloured rectangles represent the colours of Ireland, Mexico, and Italy, the three countries in which James spent the later years of his life.

The tapestry was designed by Pat Taylor, former Director of the West Dean Tapestry Studio. It was woven by Pat Taylor, Helen Gibbs, and Penny Bush.

West Dean remains a place of critical importance to the art and craft of tapestry weaving in the UK today. For more information on forthcoming events, commission enquires, or to purchase a tapestry woven by the Studio, please visit the Tapestry Studio pages of the website.

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Installation view: 'Postcard to West Dean' at West Dean College. Copyright: West Dean College, part of the Edward James Foundation
'Postcard to West Dean' hand-woven tapestry made at the West Dean Tapestry Studio, 1986. Copyright: West Dean College, part of the Edward James Foundation.