New Exhibition at the Royal School of Needlework

Royal School of Needlework 150th anniversary

There’s a new exhibition at the Royal School of Needlework. “A Girl’s Education in Stitch”, running from now until March 2023.

At Hampton Court Palace, the new display will demonstrate the variety of work stitched by girls as part of their education. And it features fascinating objects from the RSN’s unique Collection & Archive.

In the early days of formal education, embroidery substituted for reading, writing and maths, using needlework samplers. The RSN’s new exhibition features a range of pieces across the 18th and 19th centuries, from band samplers to map and darning samplers.

Taught To Stitch

Moving through to the 1900s, the exhibition highlights dressmaking. This became part of the curriculum and features examples of miniature outfits, from knickers to pinafores.

From the 20th century, the exhibition focuses on the Needlework Development Scheme and other ways in which children were taught to stitch. It also shows examples of work from girls across the UK.

Dr Susan Kay-Williams, Chief Executive of the RSN and Curator of the exhibition said: “Our Collection houses a myriad of samplers sewn by children and young adults. The samplers in the exhibition date from the 1730s to the 20th century. And this includes the use of Map Samplers in which girls learned writing and geography, as well as embroidery.”

Royal School of Needlework 150th Anniversary

Martha Morrice sampler 1731 RSN Collection

Exhibition at the Royal School of Needlework

Visitors can book Curator Tours with Dr Susan Kay-Williams; Guided Tours and Talk & Tours. The exhibition is only open on a limited number of set days, so pre-booking is essential.

Find out more about The Royal School of Needlework’s 150 year history in The People’s Friend Special 229on sale now.



Yvonne McKenzie

Yvonne works on the Features team and admits to being nosy, so loves looking after the Between Friends letters and finding out all about our lovely readers. She also looks after our health copy and enjoys writing about inspiring people that help make the articles in the magazine so interesting.