Berlin Work Charts

Berlin Work Charts

In April 2018, the TRC was given a collection of fifty original Berlin work charts. The donor was a long-time friend and supporter of the TRC, Mrs. Mariet ter Kuile-Portheine. She acquired these charts in the 1980’s. Most of them date to the mid-nineteenth century. The colours on all of these charts have been applied by hand. Some of them were produced by the Leiden-based firm of A.W. Sijthoff, which was founded in 1851 and still continues to the present day as the publishing firm of Luitingh-Sijthoff. The charts donated by Mrs. Mariet ter Kuile-Portheine form the basis for this online exhibition.


Pat Berman, 'Berlin Work'published in Needle Pointers, Febr./March 1990, and revised in October 2000. Digitally available here (retrieved 8th June 2016).

See also the entry on an embroidered picture 'Girld holding a cat', now in the Victoria and Albert Museum and dated to c. 1840, and to a nappy basket with Berlin wool work decoration.

For Berlin wook work, see also the relevant entry in TRC Needles.

For this online exhibition:

  • Author: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood
  • Web-design: Joost Koopman
  • Exhibition design: Willem Vogelsang
  • Publisher: TRC Leiden.
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Copyright: All illustrations of objects housed in the TRC collection can be used free of charge, but please add to the caption: "Courtesy Textile Research Centre, Leiden" and the pertinent accession number of the object.

1. Introduction to Berlin work

Berlin work is a style of embroidery that is normally associated with the use of woollen yarn (tapestry yarn) on canvas. It was made in the West (notably Northern Europe…

2. Berlin wool

Berlin wool is a type of wool derived from Merino sheep in Saxony, Germany. In the nineteenth century, the wool was sent to the city of Gotha to be combed (worsted),…

3. Berlin work colours and aniline

Berlin work was traditionally executed in many colours, to produce intricate, almost 3D effects. Berlin wool work was stimulated by the discovery and development of aniline dyes from the 1830s,…

4. Berlin work patterns

Berlin work charts were first produced and published in the early nineteenth century in Berlin (Germany), hence their name. The first patterns were printed in black and white on grid…

5. Berlin work charts

At first, most of the charts were made in Berlin by various firms, including Herz und Wegener and P. Trübe. Later, charts were also printed outside of Berlin. Copies of…

6. The uses of Berlin work

Berlin charts were used for embroidery that would cover a wide range of objects, including soft furnishings (chair seats and backs), cushions, curtains, footstools, fire-screens, ‘paintings’, as well as items…

7. Gallery of Berlin work charts

The image gallery below contains all the Berlin work charts housed in the TRC collection. The illustrations are linked directly to the collection's online catalogue.