THE CHAIRPERSON of the Ros Tapestry Project Ltd. Board of Directors has confirmed to this newspaper that the threat of a High Court action against the company was brought to the attention of members at their recent A.G.M.
The Echo has learned that Countess Ann Bernstorff, who painted the tapestry cartoons and whose daughter, Alexis, tutored the embroiders who stitched the finished panels, has threatened to take legal action against the company.
Though the Countess said she was unable to comment on the matter directly when The Echo contacted her about the issue it’s believed that an alleged infringement of the artist’s copyright and integrity right will form part of the case if it does go to court.
This newspaper has also learned that the Countess is likely to seek an injunction to restrain Ros Tapestry Project Ltd. from infringing on her copyright in the artistic works relating to the 15 tapestry panels.
In interviews with this newspaper in the past Countess Bernstorff has expressed concern that new panels are being created under the banner of the ‘Ros Tapestry’ which have no bearing on the story of the Norman invasion of Ireland – on which the 15 original project panels were based.
The Chairperson of the Ros Tapestry Project Ltd. Board of Directors, solicitor, Martin Lawlor, confirmed to this newspaper that at the board’s recent Annual General Meeting the threat of legal action was brought to the members’ attention.
While pointing out there wasn’t much he could say on the matter at present Mr. Lawlor said that if an action is taken against the company it would be defended in full.
Ironically, both Countess Bernstorff and Mr. Lawlor said it was regretful that the situation had reached such a stage.
Countess Bernstorff said: “I want to protect the integrity of the project as we were asked to do in the first place.”
Similarly, Mr. Lawlor pointed out that the integrity of the project is something that all members of the board and the project company as a whole takes very seriously.
“The story of the panels and the Ros Tapestry project had a definite beginning, middle and end,” said Countess Bernstorff.
“That was the shape of the project,” she added.
“That was the story and that was the work done on behalf of that [Norman] story.”
The Countess went on to comment: “It should not be used to promote any other story.”
When asked if she was paid for the work she did on creating the cartoons for the project she commented: “I got paid but I could have got 10 times more for my other work at the time.”
When asked if she knew when the court case was likely to be held Countess Bernstorff said: “I don’t really know but it could be anytime within the next eight to 12 months.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Lawlor said that while the Board was aware of possible legal action no official papers have been served on the company to-date.
However, he did comment: “It’s a community project and we have to defend it.”
Mr. Lawlor also pointed out there are statutory obligations on the board in relation to protecting the copyright of everyone involved with the project.
A team of international art lovers has set up website called www.rostapestrylovers.com which outlines the background to the project and features profiles on the people involved in creating the piece while the official tapestry website can be accessed at www.rostapestry.com
The panels completed to-date can be viewed at the Ros Tapestry Exhibition Centre which is located on the New Ross quayfront across the JFK Statue near O’Hanrahan Bridge.