Embroidery

Found throughout the Museum

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Found on everything from stockings and nightgowns to wedding dresses and wall hangings, embroidery has been used to decorate textiles for over a thousand years. From cross-stitch to underside couching, our collection includes examples of embroidery techniques from across the world, by skilled professionals and amateurs alike.

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Embroidery designs by William Morris are represented alongside exquisite examples of medieval opus anglicanum, 17th century caskets and modern masterpieces of couture by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Christian Dior.

Collection Highlights

waistcoat
(Back) Waistcoat, 1620 – 25, England
evening dress
(Detail) The Flowers of the Fields of France, evening dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, 1957, London, England
armchair
Armchair, about 1725 – 35, France
hanging
(Detail) Hanging, about 1700, Gujarat, India
child's shoe
Child's shoe, about 1873, Shache, China
evening outfit
Evening outfit, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, made by Lesage, 1967, Paris, France
cope
(Detail) The Butler Bowdon Cope, 1330 – 45, England
pair of shoes
Pair of shoes, unknown, 1730 – 40, Britain
evening ensemble
(Detail) Pérou evening ensemble, designed by Christian Dior, by Bodin Brossin, 1954, Paris, France
jacket
(Detail) Jacket, 1915, Jinan, China
portrait
Portrait of Charles I, by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1625 – 50, England
embroidered casket
Embroidered casket, made by Martha Edlin, 1671, England

Features

Background image: Waistcoat with blackwork embroidery, maker unknown, 1620 – 25, England. Museum no. T.4-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London