Ely Cathedral – 5th – 28th February 2019

The Embroiderers’ Guild Collection is full of stories behind the techniques and styles of embroidery on display.

Incorporating textiles from previous centuries to the present day, this special exhibition will inform and, in some cases, amaze the visitor and may even alter preconceived ideas on embroidery. For this exhibition, five themes were chosen, representing particular strengths of the Collection.

Embroidery as Art considers the emergence of textiles as an art form in the 20th century, when new materials and techniques became popular and art schools and colleges began to offer degrees in the study of textiles in many contemporary styles. 

Embroidery in Education examines the importance of education; from early needlework samplers stitched by young girls in the 17th century; through Berlin wool work samplers in the late 18th century, to samplers of the 20th century. 

Embroidery as Fashion looks at the embellishment of clothing and accessories with embroidery and encompasses work by professional embroiderers and current experts in the field, using both hand and machine embroidery.

Embroidery as Industry shows how embroidery spread from individuals, through cottage industries to the mass production of embroidery in factories. Notable among factory workshops in the past were Morris & Co and the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

Embroidery as Status encompasses the use of embroidery as a symbol of status. Used for many years by the wealthy and powerful in society; in religion, Royalty, government and power; embroidery emphasises rank and authority. Sumptuous embroidery in metal thread, silk and jewels reflect the importance of the wearer and the occasion.

Exhibition Opening Times

Mon – Sat: 9.30am – 4pm. Sun: 12noon – 4pm

Tickets  Available from Box Office: 01353 660349 or  

All tickets include standard entry into Ely Cathedral.

Categories: Events