Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Great Site for Embroidery Inspiration!


Amazon Books

If you like to browse sites with great photos of embroidered work – especially if you’re interested in historical embroidery – then you’ll probably love the Victoria & Albert Museum!

The Victoria & Albert Museum has a marvelous textile collection – perhaps the best in the world. Search the collections at the V&A;, typing in “embroidered” for a keyword search, and you will find page after page of magnificent images of historical embroidery.

Victoria and Albert Museum Collection Search

You can then click on the thumbnails of the embroidery you’d like to see up close. At that point, you’ll get all the “vital statistics” on the piece – what it’s made out of, where it was worked, who embroidered it, what it was used for, and so forth – as well as some interesting little tidbits. For example, I clicked on a fantastic piece of beetle-wing embroidery, and was treated to this image, only larger:

Victoria and Albert Museum Collection - Beetle Wing Embroidery

… along with some historical information about beetle-wing embroidery:

Dress fabrics embroidered with pieces of beetles’ wing-cases, often cut into leaf shapes, were popular with Western women (those based in India and in Europe) from the mid-19th to early 20th century. The iridescent pieces of beetle-wing gave a lustre and sparkle to evening dresses that emulated applied gemstones. The pieces of beetle-wing were attached by piercing them with a needle and sewing them directly onto the ground fabric, in this case black net, but often fine cotton muslin. Because of their extreme fragility, they were usually used only around the edges of garments (hems, necks and sleeves) to minimise crushing. (Taken from the V&A; Museum Website.)

Since I’m right in the middle of a beetle wing & goldwork embroidery piece, I was thrilled to be able to take a look at this!

You can do all kinds of keyword searches through the link above, so if you’re wanting to browse about for some inspiration, or you just want to glory in some gorgeous art, visit the V&A; today!

Thanks, Margaret, for the link!


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(2) Comments

  1. Being an embroidery artist I went to visit – all the way from Amsterdam – the textiles department at V & A three times but all three times it was closed due to maintainance 🙁 I’d love to see the embroidery in real life, especially my favorite, a very special sampler. I hope some day i will be able too anyway, in the meantime i just bought the book.

    (and lots of compliments for your website!)


  2. Thanks, Hinke! Too bad about your visits to the V&A;!! It’s top on my list for my next excursion abroad! I have a couple V&A; books – they are really wonderful, aren’t they? I hope the next time you go, it’s open, refurbished, and better than ever!

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