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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The Embroideries at Liverpool Cathedral


Amazon Books

Last weekend, I enjoyed a delightful spurt of Weekend Reading.

Accompanied by a fascinating booklet on embroidery (thank you, Janice!), I took myself to the front porch and sat in the sun and read away. It was a delightful, quiet couple hours of really good reading, with some note-taking scattered in for good measure.

Stitchers with an interest in historical embroidery (especially from the Victorian through Edwardian ages) and in ecclesiastical embroidery will probably find the booklet equally as enticing.

The Embroideries of Liverpool Cathedral

The Embroideries of Liverpool Cathedral is a booklet published by Liverpool Cathedral.

It details, among other things, the histories of the various associations connected to the history of the embroideries at Liverpool Cathedral, highlighting the work they accomplished and their influence in perpetuating the skills necessary for ecclesiastical embroidery.

The Embroideries of Liverpool Cathedral

And, as you would expect, the booklet is packed full of delightful images of embroideries from the collection at Liverpool Cathedral.

The images are clear and beautiful, and many are large enough to enjoy the details of the embroidery.

The Embroideries of Liverpool Cathedral

The last part of the booklet, about the Elizabeth Hoare Gallery – is more of the practical “history” of this type of embroidery. The author of this section, Mary Schoeser, writes about the making of church embroideries (the process, colors, the symbolism), as well as about the collection itself.

There’s information on handling historical embroideries and on storing them.

The Embroideries of Liverpool Cathedral

And there’s a nice collection of short biographies of the influential designers during the time periods – from Bodley to Pugin, and many in between.

The Embroideries of Liverpool Cathedral

One of my favorite visual aspects of the booklet: throughout the books, we get glimpses of the cartoons (or drawn designs) as well as the corresponding finished embroidery. And both are beautiful!

I think what I took away most from the book, though, is how a few skilled people, with focus and enthusiasm, can do so much for the perpetuation of an art form.

It’s a lovely little booklet, providing interesting insight to the times and to the situation of embroidery as a learnable craft and as an art form, from the mid-1800’s onwards.

Further Information

Now, you might be thinking that you have to visit Liverpool Cathedral to acquire your own copy. But for those with a keen interest in the subject, you’ll be happy to know that, in fact, you can order The Embroideries of Liverpool Cathedral online, through the Cathedral shop.

You can also visit the Liverpool Cathedral website to read a little more about the Elizabeth Hoare Gallery and about the embroidery exhibit at the Cathedral.

Coming Up on Needle ‘n Thread!

Tomorrow, a little tool talk, and next week, a tutorial, a lovely piece of work from a reader, and a few other stitchy delights.

I hope you have a terrific weekend!


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(6) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    This is really apt as I will be visiting Liverpool on a 4 day holiday in May and apart from other historical sites there is a free afternoon included in the tour where I can visit the Cathedral and look at the Embroideries close up, how exciting, I’ve just ordered the booklet and I will look forward to browsing the lovely work on display at the Cathedral, as well as visiting the Beatles museum, I’m a 60s girl so I have to visit. Thanks so much for the review of the Cathedral booklet and it’s embroideries I look forward to receiving my copy and browsing through it.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Thank you, Mary. You’ve brought back memories. In 2002, I had a 3 week house exchange with a family in Liverpool. Over that time I spent many hours drooling over the embroideries in the Gallery and taking copious notes. There was no pamphlet/guide to the embroideries, but I did buy a wonderful book in the Cathedral Bookshop, which had a chapter on them. It’s by Mary Schoeser and titled “English Church Embroidery, 1833 – 1956”, London: Watts & Co., 2nd ed. 1998, 180p., lots of pictures (most in colour). It has chapters on the designers, the firms, the convents, the guilds and secular schools, and the Cathedral Museum. The book is no longer in print, but I checked on ABE books and they have several used copies listed. The prices look fairly high, but even in 2002, it was an expensive book. (I paid £29.) It belongs in the collection of anyone interested in ecclesiastical embroidery (which I’m not but the goldwork takes your breath away).

    I’ve just ordered the booklet and can hardly wait to receive it.

    Anita: I envy you. As the Brits say: “You’ll be gobsmacked”.

  3. Hello Mary,
    I visited Liverpool some years ago, fortuitously while I was completing the Metal thread Module of my C&G Diploma. It is a treasure-trove! It has a large collection of the teaching samples used by one of the large ecclesiastical embroidery firms and they are very helpful for the beginner. Thank you for telling me about the book, it was not on display when I was there, so I’ll order one now.

  4. Hi Mary,

    My copy of the Embroideries at Liverpool Cathedral has just arrived, and I am really going to enjoy looking at it. Can you let us know of other booklets like this that tell about Cathedral (and other places) exhibitions and collections, please.

    Cheers Judy
    S.E.Queensland, Australia

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