The Fabric of Flowers - The Broderer’s Crown

The Fabric of Flowers - The Broderer’s Crown

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This talk is the first in our online series exploring how flowers and gardens have inspired textile artists on Mons@ 6pm from 19 Sep £5 each

About this event

Our interest in gardens has so much to offer us and in this, our latest series of talks, we are taking a sideways view by exploring how gardens and flowers have influenced and inspired other arts and crafts. This first series of 6 will focus on textiles and explore some of the historical and technical aspects of embroidering, weaving and printing using floral designs on fabric. We will look at textiles from Elizabethan crowns to Edwardian table linen to see how flowers provided inspiration, taking in the prolific art embroiderers of the Arts and Crafts Movement. We will then be brought bang up to date with two contemporary embroiderers with very different approaches to floral imagery who will share their design processes with us.


This ticket is for this individual session and costs £5, and you may purchase tickets for other individual sessions via the links below, or you may purchase a ticket for the entire course of 6 sessions at a cost of £24 via the link here.

Attendees will be sent a Zoom link 2 days prior to the start of the talk, and again a few hours before the talk. A link to the recorded session (available for 1 week) will be sent shortly afterwards.

Due to a recent Apple decision to charge a 30% fee for paid online events unfortunately you may no longer be able to purchase this ticket from the Eventbrite iOS app. Please use a web browser on desktop or mobile to purchase or follow the link here.


Week 1. 19 September: The Broderer’s Crown. First in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 2. 26 September: For Pleasure and Ornament. Second in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 3. 3 October: The English Rose in Life and Textiles. Third in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 4. 10 October: Flax Flower to Fine Linen. Fourth in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 5. 17 October: Gardening with Silk and Gold Thread. Fifth in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 6. 24 October: The Embroiderer’s Floral. Last in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.


Week 1. 19th September: The Broderer’s Crown with Cynthia Jackson

Following the reformation, embroiderers in the Tudor era increasingly embraced the use of floral imagery to decorate a myriad of objects from ceremonial items to furnishings and fashionable garments. Luxury fabrics such as silk velvet and cloth woven with silver tinsel were embellished with botanical imagery gleaned from popular illustrated herbals. La Clef des Champs provided patterns inspired by Jacques Le Moyne’s exquisite watercolour representations of life in a Tudor garden. Skilled hands created beautiful embroideries using polychrome silks and gold and silver threads in a variety of techniques.

Three exceptional extant Tudor embroideries illustrate the remarkable creativity of the Tudor embroiderer. The textile known as the Bacton Altar Cloth is like a garden, a sampling of a wide range of colourful, botanical sprigs arranged in rows, alive with insects flitting through the blooms. In the early tradition of the popular miniature, a small and exquisitely embroidered portrait of a fashionable Tudor lady is featured in front of a formal garden, complete with topiary and fountain. The Broderer’s Crown is a ceremonial artifact used to inaugurate a newly elected official of the 16th century Livery Company. It is unique in its decoration of applied silk and metal flowers on a circlet of silk velvet. The overall design is a simple repeat but as the individual layers of flowers and fruit are explored, the embroidery on the Crown reveals an astonishing complexity.


Cynthia Jackson is a freelance embroiderer, designer and tutor. An award-winning textile artist, she finds inspiration in the remarkable potential of embroidery, experimenting with the unusual while preserving a commitment to technique. Cynthia’s focus, as an independent academic researcher, is on professional Tudor embroiderers and the impact of their craft on the material culture of early modern England. Her published articles combine documentary analysis with careful practical investigation of 16th century artifacts. She is a two-time recipient of the Society of Antiquaries of London’s Janet Arnold Award. Her current goal is to seek out, examine and re-create extant examples of 16th English embroidery, culminating in the publication of an illustrated history of Tudor embroidery and a practical guide to techniques and materials.

Image: detail, The Broderer’s Crown © The Worshipful Company of Broderers


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