A Girl’s Education in Stitch

21st July, 2022

The doors are now open for our new exhibition, ‘A Girl’s Education in Stitch’. 

Taking place in our Embroidery Studio at Hampton Court Palace, the new display demonstrates the variety of work stitched by girls as part of their education and features fascinating objects from the RSN’s unique Collection & Archive.

In the early days of formal education, embroidery substituted for reading, writing and maths, using needlework samplers. The RSN’s new exhibition features a range of pieces across the 18th and 19th centuries, from band samplers to map and darning samplers.  

Moving through to the 1900s, the exhibition highlights dressmaking, which became part of the curriculum and features examples of miniature outfits, from knickers to pinafores. From the 20th century, the exhibition focuses on the Needlework Development Scheme and other ways in which children were taught to stitch, as well as examples of work from girls across the UK.

Dr Susan Kay-Williams, RSN Chief Executive and Curator of the exhibition said,

“Our Collection houses a myriad of samplers sewn by children and young adults. The samplers in the exhibition date from the 1730s to the 20th century, including the use of Map Samplers in which girls learned writing and geography as well as embroidery.”

Visitors can book Curator Tours with Dr Susan Kay-Williams, Guided Tours and Talk & Tours. Please note that as the exhibition is in our working Embroidery Studio, it is only open on a limited number of set days, so pre-booking is essential. 

There are currently spaces available for the following sessions in August:

  • Talk & Tour: 11am on Thursday 11 August
  • Curator’s Tour: 10:30am on Saturday 13 August

Group Bookings

  • Group Tour: 2pm on Thursday 11 August
  • Group Curator’s Tour: 2pm on Saturday 13 August

Book your place now to avoid disappointment.