Explore the craft of embroidery from the middle ages to the present day, and trace the history of needlework techniques, designers, patterns, and samplers.
Samplers, Stitches and Techniques
Many stitches and techniques were originally used in embroidery samplers to create almost limitless effects, yet from the 18th century onwards, more and more reliance has been placed on fewer and fewer stitches until the word ‘sampler’ has generally come to be equated with ‘cross stitch.
Embroidery in the Archive of Art & Design
The V&A's Archive of Art and Design holds the working papers of individual designers, as well as the records of companies and associations involved in all aspects of applied art and design. The archives can be consulted by appointment at Blythe House, located near Olympia in West London.
Embroidery Pattern Books 1523 - 1700
The Word and Image Department of the V&A holds 60 original embroidery books including the only extant copy of Richard Shorleyker’s ‘Schole house for the needle’ of 1632. For modern embroiderers these little books still provide a source of inspiration, and for historians a fascinating insight into 16th century publishing and domestic history.