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Exhibition - The Beautiful Stitch


Ely Cathedral

Tel: 01353 667735

Add Exhibition - The Beautiful Stitch to your Itinerary

Exhibition - The Beautiful Stitch

The Embroiderers' Guild Collection is full of stories behind the techniques and styles of embroidery on display. We hope that this exhibition will inform and, in some cases, offer surprises in the conception of embroidery.

The Beautiful Stitch represents the variety and scope of the Collection, including textiles from the 16th Century to the present day with examples of many techniques and from many countries.

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; when samplers were produced as a reference for stitches; through Berlin wool work samplers in the late 18thcentury, to samplers of the 20th century, which were often pictorial in form. The Embroiderers' Guild has been a leading light in embroidery education from its beginnings in 1906, to the present day.

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. Today, factories produce embroidery Internationally on a huge scale.

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.


Opening Times

Sorry, this event has passed


All the ticket allow visitors standard entrance to the Cathedral plus the exhibition.

£9 - Standard Cathedral entry admissions fee
£6 - Concessions and Embroidery Guild Members
£5 - Cathedral Pass Holders and Sunday Entrance
Children under 16 free (when accompanied by a paying adult)


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