Embroiderers in the Middle Ages were purveyors of wealth and status since they supplied the Church and aristocratic patrons with a splendid variety of vestments and alter cloths, clothes and wall-hangings. Although a common pastime among women, professional embroidery was carried out by both men and women who sometimes operated from family workshops. These could expand significantly in response to great demand, as from a royal patron. But how did they acquire their skills? Were they well paid? What techniques did they employ? Who were their designers? The author answers these and many other questions, reassessing past research and introducing new documentary material, and casts light on the shadowy figures who toiled over the pieces we admire today in churches and museums.
With a section explaining and illustrating the techniques, this book will be an invaluable source of information and inspiration tothose interested in the great legacy of medieval embroiderers.
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Kay Staniland is Keeper of Costume and Textiles at the Museum of London
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