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 during 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 a Senior Lecturer for the RSN Degree and a Costume History Specialist, lecturing at UK and international universities and conferences. She has also worked as an education consultant for Historic Royal Palaces and the Royal Dress Collection.

Bookings usually close at 3pm on the day of the event. Please note that after booking, you will receive your unique Zoom invite 24-48 hours before each event (3 hours if booked on the day). The Talks are live events only and not available to watch afterwards. If you cannot make the live events or want to watch them again in the future, we may re-release the recordings ‘on demand’ in the latter half of 2021. RSN Talks are non-refundable.

Hats, Bonnets & Veils: Embroidered Millinery

Wednesday 26 May 2021, 7pm UK BST

(Bookings close at 3pm on the day of the event)

From the purely functional to the highly symbolic, head coverings and their embellishment can tell us much about the lived experience of the past.

Join Amy as she explores this significant element of the RSN Collection and shows you stunning examples of millinery throughout the years.

Book Now

All That Glisters: The Historical Appeal of Metal Thread Embroidery

Wednesday 30 June 2021, 7pm UK BST

(Bookings close at 3pm on the day of the event)

In this talk, Amy examines Goldwork embroidery in the RSN Collection and considers the global appeal of this technique throughout history.

Through the objects in our archives, we can learn more about how metal thread embroidery has played an important role in the material culture of power, status and identity.

Book Now


Previous Talks Presented by Amy Hare

Hand Embroidery in the 20th Century: Modernism in the RSN’s Collection

Wednesday 28 April 2021, 7pm UK BST

How did hand embroidery adapt to the challenges of modernism and develop its own distinctive direction at the RSN in the twentieth century?

By considering samples, design work and unusual embroidered objects in the RSN Collection, Amy explores how hand embroidery looked to the past and to the future by creating the Art of the moment.


Whitework & Lace: A Shining and Affirmative Thing

Wednesday 24 March 2021, 7pm UK GMT

The RSN Collection houses stunning examples of Whitework and lace objects spanning four hundred years.

Join Amy as she explores the function and meaning of white embroidery in the past and highlights some of the most delicate and interesting pieces in our Collection. See some rare and wonderful pieces from our archives in this object-focused Talk followed by a Q&A session easily accessed via Zoom.

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.

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 17th to the 20th century.


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.