Over the years the RSN has benefited from very generous donations of embroideries: pieces made in our Embroidery Studio, embroideries created by RSN students and historical pieces from all periods.  We really appreciate these donations, but as a charity with limited storage space and limited means it is impossible for us to accept or keep everything that people might wish to give us. To guide you we have a Collections Policy.

Our Collections Policy

We will consider accepting:

  • Needlework pieces that are directly related to the RSN because they were
    a) worked by the RSN
    b) designed and worked by the RSN
    c) designed on commission for the RSN and worked here
    d) worked by a student or staff member of the RSN
  • Needlework pieces that represent embroidery to a very high standard from any period or location. Such pieces can enhance our Collection or replace a current piece where the donation is of a higher quality
  • Pieces that are useful reference pieces for the Handling Collection
  • Archival materials directly relating to the history of the RSN and people connected with the RSN
  • Embroidery books, equipment and materials.

The RSN Collection plays a vital role for our students to learn about design and the construction of pieces, as well as stitching techniques, types of threads and so on. In the coming years we want to make more of it available to students to study.

When you are thinking of leaving us embroideries it is very helpful to know about the potential donation in advance, not least because there is often a story behind how it came into your possession and without advance notification this vital and fascinating history may be lost.

As a charity we are rich in skills, but not its resources. We rely on our supporters to help fund our work. When you are thinking about donating a piece to the RSN it would be wonderful if this could be accompanied by an endowment or supporting donation to help with its cleaning, storage and conservation, as well as towards possible exhibition. A supporting endowment can help ensure an embroidered piece can be kept in the best possible way. Also, the RSN would also expect your estate to fund the safe delivery of the items to the RSN.

Finally, because we have limited space and resources, we ask that any piece or item given to us is given freely so that we may decide not only how it is used, but also that we may dispose of it, generally by selling it, to raise funds for the Royal School of Needlework if, for example, we have a number of pieces in the same style or we have multiple copies of the same book.

We also welcome donations of frames, threads, materials and needlework-related items. Depending on the condition, colours, materials etc these might be used in our Embroidery Studio, given to students for trial pieces or sold to raise funds for future RSN initiatives. Grand Sales of donated items are held every two years or so and since 2010 these have riased a remarkable £46,000 towards our work.

For more information

If you are considering leaving the RSN a piece of work or materials then please contact Chief Executive Dr Susan Kay-Williams or T:+44 (0) 20 3166 6936.

All information will, of course, be kept confidential and is in no way legally binding.