Observed Incident - Audrey Walker

Observed Incident, Audrey Walker, 2002. Image © Heini Schneebeli

Object Details

Date of making
Date of acquisition
Textiles: embroidery
Cotton canvas, silk thread, manmade threads
Panel A: L1320mm x W675mm x D25mm; Panel B: L1320mm x W765mm x D25mm
Collection Number

Maker Details

West Cumberland, England
Place Trained
Slade School of Fine Art, London, Diploma in Fine Art, 1948-51; Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Diploma in Drawing and Painting, 1944-48
Pembrokeshire, West Wales
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This object inspired new work by...


A member of renowned 62 Textiles Group, Audrey Walker MBE is fascinated by the human figure, the portrait and aspects of narrative. Her techniques are deliberately simple and direct, with variations in colour and tone built up with layers of stitches, by hand and machine, over a variety of fabrics. Observed Incident opens up an aggressive scene composed of a woman watching armoured riot police in action from her window. Walker draws us into her flattening pictorial space with the lone woman’s disquieting encounter with the world beyond her netted windows.

Walker was awarded an MBE for services to the Arts in 1993.

Observed Incident was one of the Collection works chosen by curator Ralph Turner for the 2008 touring exhibition ‘Collecting a Kaleidoscope’.

Read more about related loans and exhibitions

Philip Hughes

“Observed Incident was inspired by a piece in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection, a tiny fragment less than two inches high of a 14th-century embroidery of an observer watching a murder (The Martyrdom of Thomas à Becket). I have chosen this for two reasons: it is a phenomenal example of Audrey's work, and is inspired by a work in a collection, reminding us how important access to our visual culture is.

Audrey describes it thus, ‘I was amazed by the drawing – three knights in armour with helmets, shields, swords and an enigmatic watching figure are enclosed in this tiny space. To salute this anonymous embroiderer’s imagination and skill I have made a similar 'observed incident' on a larger scale."

Philip Hughes

Philip Hughes, Director, Ruthin Craft Centre. Crafts Council Acquisition Adviser, 1999 – 2002.


From the Archive

Crafts Council Purchase Information Sheet

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