The Eye of the Needle will display, for the first time in public, a selection of eye-catching, virtuoso 17th-century embroideries from the internationally renowned Feller Collection, together with outstanding examples from the Ashmolean’s own holdings. These remarkable embroideries include colourful raised and flatwork pictoral panels, beautiful samplers and household items such as boxes and cushions and dress accessories including caps, coifs and gloves.
The exhibition will explore the context in which these dramatic and technically exacting works were made, examining their importance in creating the ideal goodly and godly woman through the discipline of painstaking embroidery, reinforcing both social status and appropriate behaviour. Exquisite objects in their own right made with colourful silks, pearls, and semi-precious stones, the embroideries also reflect the religious, political and social concerns of the English Civil War period.
The Eye of the Needle is curated by Dr Mary Brooks, University of Durham.