Research, Reconstruction, and Bespoke Design

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Watercolour reconstruction based on a 15th century contract for embroidered vestments.  Scroll down page for more information.

Research and Reconstruction

Gutter Lane Embroidery provides various services that are connected to a passion for historic hand embroidery. We reconstruct original embroidered artifacts owned by historical institutions, museums, and private collectors. We provide in-depth historical research for each item we work on, so our clients understand the full background of the artifacts in their care. Based on our research, we can also reconstruct the artifact to deliver an appreciation of what they could have looked like before the passage of time.   For more information please scroll further down the page to The Broderers' Crown Project

Bespok​e ​Design

At Gutter Lane Embroidery, you can commission a bespoke embroidery design for a reproduction garment that you wish to embroider or we can design and complete the embroidery based on your specifications. We use only the finest quality silks and metal thread.


Do not hesitate to get in touch with us for any questions you may have concerning our research and reconstruction services, or for the creation of bespoke design.  Please send your queries to [email protected]

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The Broderers’ C​rown Project  

 

During the late middle ages, the election of many City of London Livery Company officials was a yearly event. Celebrated with considerable formality, each Company developed their own customs, often including the use of a garland or crown. Very early garlands were made yearly of flowers or herbs. The Broderers’ Crown, still in the possession of the Broderers’ and dating from the late 16th century, is unique and illustrates the highest level of skill practiced by the professional Tudor embroiderer.


The Broderers’ Crown is a rare example of the important and intricate work of the professional embroiderer of the sixteenth-century. Research into the traditional use of the livery crown or garland has established the significance of the Broderers’ Crown as a visual reminder of the important role embroidery played in the material culture of the 16th century. The unique floral design, intricacy of technique and the quality of the materials, all indicate that the Broderers’ Company was committed to maintaining a high level of workmanship. The office of master of the Broderers’ Company held significant responsibilities, and the wearing of the embroidered garland was designed to encourage respect for the office and pride of the profession.

   

Reconstruction of this significant artifact has reaffirmed the high level of technical skill and creativity required for the vast quantities of embroidery demanded by an ever increasing clientele. The resulting documentation of the techniques and materials provides additional information to aid in the identification of embroidery work of the Tudor period.


The reconstruction has been made possible by the 2017 Janet Arnold Award from the Society of Antiquaries of London and the Professional Development Award 2016 from the Textile Society, UK.


              Images of the Broderers’ Crowns appear with the permission of The Broderers’ Company and the Society of Antiquaries of London.  ©2018 C. Jackson.

Broderers’ Crown, second half of the sixteenth-century

Reconstructed Broderers’ Crown 

Unear​thing the Past

Cindy (left) and Jayne (right) at the display for the Broderers’ Crown Project at the Society of Antiquaries of London Research Showcase on 27 July.   Jayne demonstrated some 16th century embroidery techniques while Cindy answered questions about the history of the City Livery Crown and professional embroiderers in the Tudor era. The reconstructed crown was on display and the prototype could be handled to help explain some of the unusual materials and techniques. The new crown was presented to the Broderers’ Company at the Court Dinner on 25 September. Sir Christopher Bellamy, Master of the Broderers’ Company, wore the reconstructed crown in the Masters Procession at the beginning of the Associated Companies Dinner on 25 October.

1495 Contract for Embro​idered Vestments

A copy of a formal agreement between Sir Robert Clere and William Morton, offers a rare insight into the making of a set of late fifteenth-century vestments. The contract is included in the Townshend family papers in the British Library, Add MS 41305, fols 35v, 36. The document provides details of the materials, costs, the motifs and the time frame within which the vestments were to be produced. This project investigated the individuals mentioned in the agreement, the significance of the symbols and images chosen, and the possible motives behind the contract phraseology.


Although the vestments no longer exist, parallels for the designs and techniques among extant examples were used to re-create their possible appearance. For more information see ‘Powdered with Armes Ymages and Angels’: An Early Tudor Contract for Embroidered Vestments, Antiquaries Journal, Volume 96, September 2016 , pp. 143-167 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquaries-journal

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Workshops