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.

Exploring Embroidery

Photo of Waistcoat, maker unknown, 1620 – 25, England. Museum no. T.4-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Waistcoat, maker unknown, 1620 – 25, England. Museum no. T.4-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Flowers of the Fields of France, evening dress, Norman Hartnell, 1957, England. Museum no. T.264-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Given by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Flowers of the Fields of France, evening dress, Norman Hartnell, 1957, England. Museum no. T.264-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Given by Her Majesty the Queen.

Photo of Armchair, maker unknown, 1725 – 35, France. Museum no.  W.55-1914. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Armchair, maker unknown, 1725 – 35, France. Museum no. W.55-1914. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hanging, maker unknown, about 1700, India. Museum no. IS.155-1953. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hanging, maker unknown, about 1700, India. Museum no. IS.155-1953. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Child's shoe, maker unknown, China, about 1873. Museum no. 2077(IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Child's shoe, maker unknown, China, about 1873. Museum no. 2077(IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Evening outfit, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, embroidered by Lesage, 1967, France. Museum no. T.38 to C-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Evening outfit, designed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, embroidered by Lesage, 1967, France. Museum no. T.38 to C-1974. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Butler Bowdon Cope (detail), maker unknown, 1330 – 50, woven in Italy, embroidered in England. Museum no. T.36-1955. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Butler Bowdon Cope (detail), maker unknown, 1330 – 50, woven in Italy, embroidered in England. Museum no. T.36-1955. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Embroidered casket, Martha Edlin, 1671, England. Museum no. T.432-1990. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Embroidered casket, Martha Edlin, 1671, England. Museum no. T.432-1990. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Pair of shoes, maker unknown, 1730 – 40, England. Museum no. T.64&A-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Pair of shoes, maker unknown, 1730 – 40, England. Museum no. T.64&A-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of La Ligne H, evening ensemble (detail), designed by Christian Dior, embroidered by Bodin Brossin, 1954 – 55, France. Museum no. T.12&A-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
La Ligne H, evening ensemble (detail), designed by Christian Dior, embroidered by Bodin Brossin, 1954 – 55, France. Museum no. T.12&A-1977. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Jacket (detail), maker unknown, 1915, China. Museum no. FE.12-1986. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Jacket (detail), maker unknown, 1915, China. Museum no. FE.12-1986. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Portrait of Charles I, maker unknown, embroidered after the etching by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1625 – 50, England. Museum no. T.175-1961. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Portrait of Charles I, maker unknown, embroidered after the etching by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1625 – 50, England. Museum no. T.175-1961. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Learn more about Embroidery

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