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.
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:
… 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!