Treasures of the RSN


The RSN has been gathering and preserving hand embroidery since its inception in 1872 and our Collection has been at the heart of teaching embroidery as an art form ever since.

Join the RSN’s Amy Hare to see some rare and wonderful pieces from our archives in a series of four one-hour object-focussed talks followed by Q&A sessions.

Easily accessed via Zoom, our online talks will shed light on how these objects demonstrate a lived experience of the past and consider how they can be used and preserved for generations to come.

Amy is Senior Lecturer in Contextual Studies, RSN Degree and lectures in Costume History at UK and international universities and conferences. She has also worked as an education consultant for Historic Royal Palaces and the Royal Dress Collection.

Please note that after booking, you will receive your unique Zoom invite at least two days before each event. The Talks are not available to watch following the webinar, but they may be re-released in the latter half of 2021.

Four Centuries of Embroidered Bags, Pouches & Purses

Wednesday 27 January 2021, 7pm UK GMT

Practical, affordable and highly significant, embroidered bags and purses form a substantial part of the RSN Collection. Join us to see some stunning objects and discover the chronological development of embroidery as an art form for accessories from the 18th to the 20th century.

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Embroidery & Needlework in Education

Wednesday 24 February 2021, 7pm UK GMT

Back in 1872 the RSN’s central mission was to provide an education in the Art of Hand Embroidery, but needlework and sewing have been taught for centuries as part of girls education. In this Talk we explore how needlework and sewing served diverse purposes in nineteenth century England, using teaching materials and fascinating student sample books from the RSN Collection.

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Previous Talks in this Series

Victorian Embroidery in the 19th Century

Wednesday 25 November, 7pm UK GMT

The commodification of needlework in Victorian Britain and the concept of self-improvement through craft is considered in Amy’s Talk. When we encounter an embroidered object, we can be charmed by its beauty, in awe of its craftsmanship or intrigued by its unfamiliarity, but we are also bearing witness to the act of making, the moment of deliberate and exact stitching. Join us as we examine a series of embroidered objects like these decorative Berlin Woolwork and beaded face screens made in the nineteenth century.

Self Fashioning: Embroidery & Needlework in Dress

Wednesday 28 October 2020, 7pm UK GMT

Discover how embroidery has adorned and embellished fashionable dress for centuries. From needlework studios to bedroom stitchers, embroidery has been used to create the ‘self’ through fashion. Amy will show you garments and samples from the RSN collection to explore this idea.