The Royal School of Needlework, founded in 1872, has started putting some of its archives online, with an initial launch of the first 100 items to start the collection.

Cushion Cover made late 19th century; Men’s embroidered waistcoat fronts c:1740s; Embroidered
mirror frame from late 19th century – early 20th century

The first hundred pieces offer an initial glimpse of the breadth and depth of the RSN’s treasure trove, which amounts to some 10,000 objects. These include textiles from the 7th to the 21st centuries, spanning from Guatemala to Egypt to the UK and everywhere in between, as well as documents tied to the history of the RSN and its more than 150 years of embroidery design and production.

Curator at the Royal School of Needlework, Dr Isabella Rosner said: “It is very rare for a textile collection to be made available to the public online, so we are delighted to be able to share some of our treasures. We hope that visitors to the Collections website are surprised by how many centuries and continents our objects span. This is just a first step and we will be adding an exciting variety of 2D and 3D pieces which span several hundred years. We look forward to building the platform to reveal more of the RSN’s amazing Collection and Archive with the world.”

The new Collections website features comprehensive catalogue entries, including high-definition images for each object with the option to view stitches up close, maker’s names, dates, places, stitches, motifs, techniques and descriptions.

Visitors can also learn more about the techniques and stitches featured via the RSN Stitch Bank, a directory of stitches that now includes over 400 stitches.

The new Collections website can be accessed free of charge from here.

New Exhibition

To mark the launch of the Collections website, the Royal School of Needlework will curate a new exhibition later this year that will showcase many of the first 100 digitised and catalogued pieces.

The exhibition is only open on set days, and each session is restricted to a maximum of 15 visitors.

The visit includes an overview of the exhibition by a RSN member of staff and a tour guide to highlight the different exhibits. Individual, Curator and Group Tickets are available. Prices start from £25 per ticket. The Curator Talks will be led by RSN Curator, Isabella Rosner.

Exhibition tour bookings are available here.


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