A Material World: The Royal School of Needlework


It’s fitting that The Royal School of Needlework, the international centre of excellence in the art of hand embroidery, calls the former royal residence of Hampton Court Palace its home. Founded in 1872, the Royal School is steeped in history and has unrivalled expertise in its traditional craft. Alongside teaching hand embroidery to the highest standard, it also offers bespoke embroidery services in its palatial studio.  



Hand embroidery dates back to the middle ages as a popular way of decorating luxury textiles, featuring heavily in clothing for royalty and the wealthy. Embroidery continues to be in high demand today and can be found in myriad guises, from haute couture and exquisite interiors to high street fashion and furnishings. 



The renowned Embroidery Studio has customers from all over the world, from interior designers, architects and fashion designers to places of worship, private collections and the Royal Family. The specialist team create beautiful bespoke commissions for the future as well as bring historical textiles back to life by conserving or restoring them.   



There is a wide range of stunning techniques which bring the traditional art of hand embroidery to life including Goldwork, Blackwork and Whitework, Crewelwork, Stumpwork and Silk Shading which is also known as ‘painting with a needle.’   



Anne Butcher, Head of the RSN Embroidery Studio said: “There are many different techniques in hand embroidery, hundreds of stitches and a limitless rainbow of coloured threads.  With all this quite literally at our finger tips, hand embroidery can take on many different forms. Whether bold, delicate, traditional or contemporary, our expert Studio creates pieces that truly stand out from the crowd. 



“The RSN not only has unrivalled expertise in the techniques of hand embroidery, but also the experience and artistic skills to take this captivating, traditional art and make it relevant for today.  It is an exciting time to be in the world of embroidery because there is scope to take it in many different directions.” 

From large commissions, such as hand embroidering bespoke lace on to the iconic wedding dress of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge to smaller requests to conserve a precious sampler that has become a family heirloom, the highly trained, RSN expert stitchers use the finest hand embroidery techniques for each and every commission. 



Larger projects have included bespoke embroidered crests for Savoir Beds; a unique red carpet dress worn at the Oscars; extensive wall hanging for Dover Castle and a collaboration with POP artist Philip Colbert.  On a smaller scale, the Studio has created a series of unique gifts, including bespoke cufflinks, a football badge and a brooch. 

The skilled team can quite literally turn their hand to any creation and bring your vision to life. 


For further information, please contact [email protected] or call +44 (0) 20 3166 6940 


Meet the RSN Embroidery Studio specialist team on 16-19 September at Decorex; Stand F57.