Embroidery reading list



Benn, E, ed. Treasures from the Embroiderers' Guild Collection. Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1991.

Bridgeman, H & E. Drury, eds. Needlework: An Illustrated History. London, 1978.

Clabburn, P. The Needleworker's Dictionary. London, 1978.

Macbeth, A & M. Swanson. Educational Needlecraft. London, 1913.

Oddy, R. Catalogue of Embroideries given to the Museum by the Needlework Development Scheme. Edinburgh: Royal Scottish Museum, 1965.

Parker, R. The Subversive Stitch. The Women's Press, 1996.

Schuette, M & S. Muller-Christensen. The Art of Embroidery. London, 1964.

Symonds, M & L. Preece. Needlework through the Ages. London, 1928.

Thesiger, E. Adventures in Embroidery. London, 1941.

Thompson, Angela. Embroiderer's and Quilter's Sourcebook. London: Batsford, 2005.

Victoria and Albert Museum. The European Art of Textiles. NHK Kinki Media Museum Plan Osaka, 1995. (Japanese text, fully illustrated)


Bauer, Margie. The Embroiderer's Handbook. F&W Publications, 2005.

Christie, Archibald. Samplers and Stitches. London, 1920 (reprinted 1985).

Dillmont, Thérèse de. Encyclopaedia of Needlework. Late 19th century.

Enthoven, Jacqueline. The Stitches of Creative Embroidery. New York, 1964.

Germain, Charles de. Art of the Embroiderer. Facsimile of 18th century Saint-Aubin book with translation from French by Nikki Scheuer. Los Angeles, 1983.

Mann, Kathleen. Applique Design and Method. London, 1937.

Mann, Kathleen. Embroidery Design and Stitches. London, 1937.

Marsh, Gail. Eighteenth Century Embroidery Techniques. Lewes: The Guild of Master Craftsmen, 2006.

Saunders, Sally. Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques. London: Batsford, 1998.

Thomas, Mary. Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. 1934.

Wade, N. V. The Basic Stitches of Embroidery. Victoria and Albert Museum, 1966.

Design Sources

Howard, Constance. Designs for Embroidery from Traditional English Sources. London, 1956.

Howard, Constance. Inspiration for Embroidery. London, 1966.

Irwin, John. 'Origins of the "Oriental" style in English decorative art'. Burlington Magazine, vol. XCVII. 1955 (on crewel work).

Mann, Kathleen. Design from Peasant Art. London, 1939.

Brodés, Gilets. Musée des Tissus: Modèles du XVIIIe. Lyons, 1993.

Swain, Margaret. Figures on Fabric. London, 1980.

British Embroidery

Arthur, Liz. Embroidery 1600-1700 at the Burrell Collection. London: John Murray, 1995.

Bath. Holburne Museum: Men, Birds, Beasts and Flowers. Exhibition catalogue, 1987.

Brooks, Mary M. English Embroideries. Oxford: The Ashmolean Museum, 2004.

Brooke, Xanthe. Lady Lever Art Gallery: Catalogue of English Embroideries. Alan Sutton, 1992.

Hackenbroch, Y. English and Other Needlework: Tapestries and Textiles in the Irwin Untermeyer Collection. London, 1960.

Howard, C. Twentieth Century Embroidery in Great Britain. 4 vols: vol. 1 to 1939, vol. 2 1940-1963, vol. 3 1964-1978, vol. 4 from 1978. London, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 respectively.

Johnstone, P. Three Hundred Years of Embroidery 1600-1900: Treasures from the Collection of the Embroiderers' Guild of Great Britain. Netley, South Australia, 1986.

Jourdain, M. English Secular Embroidery. London, 1910.

Kendrick, A. F. English Needlework. London, 1967. (2nd editon)

King, Donald & Santina Levey. The Victoria and Albert Museum's Textile Collection: Embroidery in Britain from 1200 to 1750. Victoria and Albert Museum, 1993.

Levey, Satina. Discovering Embroidery of the 19th century. Shire Publications, 1971.

Levey, Satina. An Elizabethan Inheritance: The Hardwick Hall Textiles. London: National Trust, 2006.

Macfarlane, F. C. & E. F. Arthur. Glasgow School of Art Embroidery 1894-1920. Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, 1980.

Morris, B. Victorian Embroidery. London, 1962.

Nevinson, J. L. Catalogue of English Domestic Embroideries of the 16th and 17th centuries. Victoria and Albert Museum, 1950. (2nd edition)

Seligman, G. & T. Hughes. Domestic Needlework. London, 1926.

Swain, Margaret. Historical Needlework: Study of Influences in Scotland and Northern England. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970.

Swain, Margaret. Embroidered Stuart Pictures. Shire Album 246, 1990.

Swain, Margaret. Scottish Embroidery. London, 1986.

Swain, Margaret. Embroidered Georgian Pictures. Shire Album 307, 1994.

Wardle, Patricia. Guide to English Embroidery. Victoria and Albert Museum, 1970.

Wingfield Digby, G. F. Elizabethan Embroidery. London, 1963.

Ecclesiastical Embroidery

Christie, A. H. English Medieval Embroidery. Oxford, 1938.

Dean, Beryl. Church Needlework. London, 1961.

Dean, Beryl. Ideas for Church Embroidery. London, 1968.

Dean, Beryl. Ecclesiastical Embroidery. London, 1958.

Dean, Beryl. Embroidery in Religion and Ceremonial. London: Batsford, 1981.

Johnstone, Pauline. The Byzantine Tradition in Church Embroidery. London, 1967.

King, Donald. Catalogue of the Opus Anglicanum Exhibition. Victoria and Albert Museum, 1963.

Schoeser, Mary. English Church Embroidery 1833-1953. London: Watts and Co, 1998.

Staniland, K. Medieval Craftsmen: Embroiderers. London: The British Museum, 1991.

Embroidery Catalogue of English Ecclesiastical the 13th-16th Centuries. Victoria and Albert Museum, 1930.

Bayeux Tapestry

Gibbs-Smith, C. H. The Bayeux Tapestry. London, 1973.

Stenton, Sir Frank, ed. The Bayeux Tapestry. London, 1957.

Wilson, Sir David M. The Bayeux Tapestry: The Complete Tapestry. London, 1985.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Swain, Margaret. The Needlework of Mary, Queen of Scots. New York, 1973. Republished by Ruth Bean, Carlton, Bedfordshire, 1986.

Specific Techniques

Davis, M. J. The Art of Crewel Embroidery. New York, 1962.

Dawson, Barbara. Metal Thread Embroidery. London, 1968.

Edwards, J. Bead Embroidery. 1966.

Parry, Linda, ed. A Practical Guide to Canvas Work from the Victoria and Albert Collection. London, 1987.


Boyle, Elizabeth. The Irish Flowerers. Belfast: Ulster Folk Museum, 1971.

Dawson, Barbara. Whitework Embroidery. London: Batsford,1987.

Swain, Margaret. The Flowerers: The Story of Ayrshire Needlework. W & R Chambers Ltd., 1955.

Swain, Margaret. Ayrshire and Other Whitework. Shire Album 88, 1982.

Machine Embroidery

Gray, Jennifer. Machine Embroidery. London, 1963.

Risley, Christine. Machine Embroidery. London, 1962.

Risley, Christine. Machine Embroidery: A Complete Guide. London, 1973.

Contemporary Embroidery

The Embroiderer's Guild publishes two magazines, Stitch (practical instructions and project ideas) and Embroidery, (a more detailed look at topical issues on embroidery and makers).

'Art of the Stitch'. Embroiderer's Guild, 2003.

J. Harris et al. Eye of the Needle: The Textile Art of Alice Kettle. Telos Art Publishing, 1995.

Schoeser, Mary. Mythscapes: Alice Kettle. The Gallery, Ruthin Craft Centre.

P. Binns et al. Audrey Walker. The Gallery, Ruthin Craft Centre, 2000.

Springall, Diana. Inspired to Stitch: 21 Textile Artists. London: A&C Black, 2005.

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Embroidery Designs for Fashion and Furnishings (Paperback)

Embroidery Designs for Fashion and Furnishings (Paperback)

This beautiful book illustrates the highlights of the fine collection of designs for embroidery at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Focusing on designs…

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Event - Behind the Cupboard Door at the Royal School of Needlework - Tour 1

Wed 15 July 2015 14:00–16:30

This special visit, led by the chief executive who is also the curator and archivist, will open the doors to this fascinating archive and conclude with a tour of the 2015 exhibition of whitework from the Royal School of Needlework collection.

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