Sunday, 23 September 2012

Visit to the Royal School of Needlework

It is several years since the Needlemakers visited the Royal School of Needlework and a group visited on September 13. We are very proud that the Chief Executive, Dr Susan Kay-Hamilton, is a Liveryman.

The main focus of this visit was the exhibition that celebrates “140 years of the RSN” and it will be on until March 2013.  A brief history - 
in 1872 Lady Victoria Welby founded the School of Art Needlework in London with the first students being registered on 5 November 1872.  Within a month or two, Princess Helena, Queen Victoria’s third daughter became the President. By 1875 they had the Queen’s Patronage and became the Royal School of Art Needlework, exhibiting internationally for the first time in 1876 in the USA. The exhibition features 140 objects including archive materials, photographs and embroideries from the different decades.

One suspects that this is but the tip of the iceberg and there must be many more items in the archives of great interest.  The School is not locked in the past and while “ladies” may still embroider the students are looking to careers, which will use their skills, whether it will be in, for example, fashion or restoration and offers fully accredited degree programmes.

The School of course undertakes commissioned work whether it is restoration, a very special wedding dress last year, working from original designs or finishing a piece of work for someone. Not only churches and royalty are customers – anyone can commission a piece of work. (There is a lovely Paul Smith man’s suit on display with exquisitely embroidered motifs elegantly placed.)

My mother had an eighteenth century chair which had lost its covering and was just upholstered in canvas. She approached the RSN in the late 1970s and they did some research and produced a canvas for needlepoint, which replicated the type of design that would have been on the chair. They supplied all the yarn and she completed the chair, which I am very proud now to use. Have a look at some of the commissions they have undertaken.  See Studio work.

No comments:

Post a Comment