The Beautiful Stitch:Textile Treasures of the Embroiderers' Guild

The Beautiful Stitch

The Embroiderers’ Guild was formed in 1906 with the aim of raising technical and design standards in British embroidery. It did this by collecting examples of old and foreign stitch work which Guild members could use to inspire and inform their own practice.

Today the Guild’s collection numbers nearly ten thousand items - ranging from small stitched fragments to large hangings – and is considered a nationally important collection of world costume and textiles.

In 2016, the Embroiderers’ Guild moved its collection to Bucks County Museum on long-term loan. Since then, Museum staff and volunteers have been busy behind the scenes preparing the collection so that it may be made fully accessible for the public to enjoy: through exhibitions, an online database, stores tours and more.

Headwear from AfghanistanThe inaugural exhibition of our unique and inspiring collection has formed the basis of this major exhibition at Bucks County Museum and was on from 1st July until 28 October 2017. The exhibition focussed on the diverse and ever-changing nature of embroidery across time and place, and included some of the finest pieces from the Guild’s stunning collections of historical and contemporary embroidery: from Chinese shoes to American Indian gloves, from 18th century whitework to 21st century artwork, and from miniature stitches to the World’s Longest Embroidery. The exhibition had 6 themes – Embroidery as Art; Embroidery as Education; Embroidery as Identity; Embroidery as Status/Ceremony; Embroidery as Industry and Embroidery as Fashion. Each theme has it’s own separate area in the exhibition space and is introduced by a fact panel.

In 2018 there will be a permanent gallery of pieces from the Embroiderers' Guild collection at Bucks County Museum - more details to follow.

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