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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Old English Embroidery: Its Technique & Symbolism


Amazon Books

Time for a little mid-week delve into the history of embroidery by way of a fabulous little book available on Internet Archive for download.

The book is called Old English Embroidery: Its Technique & Symbolism, by Frances and Hugh Marshall. If you’ve not come across this book before, and if you have an interest in the history of embroidery – and especially late medieval through 17th century embroidery – then I think you’ll enjoy exploring this little gem.

Old English Embroidery: Its Technique & Symbolism

You can find Old English Embroidery here on Internet Archive.

Keep in mind that it is an old book. Don’t expect a book brimming over with beautiful colored photos. Instead, you’ll find many black and white images – the scan is excellent so the images are super clear – including line drawings of museum pieces.

The line drawings especially make great studies for possible adaptation into contemporary embroidery designs.

The book explores the history of English embroidery. It touches on the transition from religious embroidery to secular embroidery. You’ll find information on the use of embroidery in religious settings, on adornment of clothing, on the embellishment of 17th century boxes (caskets), household embroideries, military and coats of arms, and more.

The symbolism aspect of the book is very short – only a few pages towards the end of the book, but still worth perusing if you are into religious symbolism in art.

I hope you get a chance to drop by Internet Archive and save the PDF of Old English Embroidery, so that you can enjoy exploring it at your leisure!

Hope you’re having a terrific week, and that you’re able to spend some quality time with your needle and thread!


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(3) Comments

  1. A beautiful digitilized work. Books like this make me realize how much I have come to rely on others to figure out how to reproduce lovely needlework. My aged eyes, hands and mind need others to assist. Thank you others for all the work you and they do to make lovely handwork.

  2. My father was a historian who worked in our national museum. I admired beautiful embroidery from a very young age. I am a quilter now, and I enjoy learning about needlework (old and new).

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