This is a gorgeous hefty book – 308 pages! It is actually an exhibition catalogue from the exhibition of the same name currently on at The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture in New York, until 12 April 2009.
Firstly there is a series of essays on aspects of English embroidery. Following that, there is the actual catalogue section, showing the articles on display in the exhibition.
The photos (all 280 of them, with the majority in colour) are magnificent – and that’s always what I’m after in any embroidery book. There are photos of complete objects, but also really good quality, lovely close-ups of details of the embroideries.
The styles of embroidery include goldwork, counted thread samplers, needlelace samplers, stumpwork, blackwork, Elizabethan embroidery. There are articles of clothing, such as jackets, hats and gloves. There is also a section of furnishings like boxes, cushions, chair covers and even embroidered picture frames (I used to work as a picture framer while at uni, but never came across anything like these!). There are sweetbags, wall panels, valances, and book covers.
Even if you never read a word, there is SO much to look at in this book. I highly recommend it. Copies can be purchased from Yale University Press.
And if you’re lucky enough to be in New York, there is actually a lecture entitled “The Needle’s Excellency: Tudor and Stuart Embroidery in British and American Collections” on in conjunction with this exhibition TONIGHT! Reservations are required, so you’ll have to get in quick! (For your sake, I hope that its not fully booked already!) More information can be found at the Bard Center website.
Now, if any of you lovely readers happen to go to this, I want to know about it! ‘Fess up and tell all!