Viewing history at the sharp end

thisisoxfordshire: 17th century embroideries viewed by guest curator Dr Mary Brooks 17th century embroideries viewed by guest curator Dr Mary Brooks

VISITORS to the Ashmolean Museum can view 17th century England through the eye of a needle at an embroidery exhibition.

The Eye of the Needle display brings together a selection of embroideries from the turbulent period of the English Civil War.

Colourful raised and flat work pictorial panels, fine white and polychrome samplers, household items such as boxes and cushions and dress accessories including caps, coifs and gloves are all on display.

Guest curator Dr Mary Brooks said the collection was a visual feast, adding: “The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to explore historic needlework in the context of 17th century religion, politics, trade and culture through a feminist perspective.”

Because needlework was almost exclusively the preserve of women the embroideries show their themes and concerns of the period.

Senior curator of European Art at the Ashmolean, Dr Catherine Whistler, said: “I hope the exhibition will have great appeal, not only to the many enthusiasts of textiles and embroidery, but also to audiences who wish to learn what these beautiful pieces can tell us about a fascinating period of English history.”

The exhibition runs until October 12 and costs £5 for adults and £4 for concessions. Under-12s go free.

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