Many initiatives to support women were begun in the late 1800s, but the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) is one of the few that remain. This initiative was born from the desire of three women - Princess Helena, Lady Victoria Welby and Lady Marian Alford - to popularise the lost art of ornamental needlework and place it on a par with other decorative arts, such as painting and sculpture. Their other, yet no less important goal was to provide employment for women compelled to earn their own livelihood. Though women are no longer so limited in occupational options, the RSN has been keeping traditional embroidery techniques alive for a century and a half.
Published to coincide with the RSN's 150th anniversary, this book will tell the story of the RSN from its founding in 1872 to the current day. It will highlight key people, royal and other special commissions, the changing fortunes of the school as fashions changed and the approach to teaching hand embroidery, as well as bringing attention to the role and position of the RSN historically and today, associating with everyone from society ladies and theatre impresarios in the late 19th century to working with fashion designers Patrick Grant, Nicholas Oakwell and Alexander McQueen, and architects in the 21st century.
The colour and shade of dyed textiles were once as much an indicator of social class or position as the fabric itself and for centuries the recipes used by dyers were closely guarded secrets. The arrival of synthetic dyestuffs in the middle of the nineteenth century opened up a whole rainbow of options and within 50 years modern dyes had completely overturned the dyeing industry. From pre-history to the current day, the story of dyed textiles in Western Europe brings together the worlds of politics, money, the church, law, taxation, international trade and exploration, fashion, serendipity and science.
This book is an introduction to a broad, diverse and fascinating subject of how and why people coloured textiles. A fresh review of this topic, this book brings previous scholars'' work to light, alongside new discoveries and research.>