Embroideries and the Stuart Period

Wealthy homes in Stuart Britain would have been decorated with lavish embroideris, usually made by the women of the household. The designs of these embroideries often marry political imagery with more personal domestic ideas. In this film Dr Giovanna Vitelli and Dr John West discuss the importance of these artefacts, and what they can reveal about the ways in which women could engage with political ideas.

Key Questions

  • What can embroideries tell us about the intersection of politics and domestic life in the Stuart era?
  • To what extent did embroidery and the designs of embroideries reinforce established social hierarchies?
  • How could Biblical stories be used to comment on political affairs in seventeenth-century Britain?

Further Reading

  • Mary Brooks, English Embroideries of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: In the Collection of the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Jonathan Horne, 2004).
  • Mary Brooks, Elizabeth Feller, and Jacqueline Holdsworth, Micheรกl and Elizabeth Feller: The Needlework Collections, 2 vols (Hascombe: Needleprint, 2011).
  • Roszika Parker, The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine, rev. edn (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010).

Unless otherwise noted, images in this film are reproduced by courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum and the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford.

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