Royal School of Needlework

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of Excellence for the
Art of Hand Embroidery

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Stories in Stitch Exhibition


Come to our Stories in Stitch exhibition and see your favourite stories brought to life with the Art of Hand Embroidery.  The latest exhibition, opening in September and running through till March, will showcase a wide range of Hand Embroideries in Appliqué, Stumpwork and Raised Embroidery, featuring pieces from the RSN’s Archive Collection and its Students.

Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in these three enchanting techniques which lend themselves so perfectly to the world of storytelling. Whether the piece tells the whole story or just a vignette, visitors will be captivated by embroideries based on songs, nursery rhymes, film scenes and ranging from the mythical to the domestic.

The historic heart of the exhibition will feature two 17th century pieces in Stumpwork when this technique was at its most popular, including details of how they were worked and how the colours have now changed. It will then sweep into the 20th and 21st centuries using the range of themes in Stumpwork and Appliqué covered by our current RSN Diploma, Future Tutor and Degree students.  The exhibition will also include Raised Embroidery featuring more three-dimensional objects, for example in jewellery.

Dr Susan Kay-Williams says;
“We have had such fun selecting all the pieces for this exhibition and it has triggered many memories and stories of our own.  The exhibition will be a feast for the eyes and show how embroidery can be playful, amusing, dramatic and fun using these three creative techniques.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
 We are now offering Family Tours on select dates throughout the year. The Tour will begin with a brief introduction to the RSN and the Stories in Stitch Exhibition. These Tours are ideal for families with young children and will feature a children's quiz based around the wonderful pieces on display.
These give the opportunity to view our fabulous Stories in Stitch Exhibition followed by a taster hand embroidery session inspired by the exhibition itself. Commencing at 11am in the morning with an illustrated talk, a senior member of staff will share fascinating historical facts and information about the Royal School of Needlework.  Visitors will then have the opportunity to view the exquisite pieces in the Stories in Stitch Exhibition. In the afternoon, the taster class will introduce you to a variety of embroidery stitches and techniques guided by our expert RSN Tutors, the class will finish at 4pm.

   “I thoroughly enjoyed the RSN’s new Stories in Stitch exhibition and being American, my favourite piece is the Mary Poppins stumpwork embroidery. The opportunity to see RSN stitchers at work was    eye opening and an   added bonus to the tour. I last visited the RSN on my honeymoon 30 years ago and will definitely be returning to take a class or see a future exhibition.”   

Tauna, Indiana, USA

Information and how to book:

  • The exhibition is held in the RSN Studios at Hampton Court Palace.
  • Tours take place on set dates throughout the month
  • Each Tour features a presentation and a guided tour of the exhibition
  • Individuals and Groups are welcome


Open Tours £16

Tour & Taster £65

Curator's Tours £22

For details call
T: +44 (0)20 3166 6939 (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday only)


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