Christie, Grace (1872-1953)

Embroidery made by Grace Christie, dated 1914. Embroidery made by Grace Christie, dated 1914. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, acc. no. CIRC.466-1953.

Grace Christie (née Chadburn; often known as Mrs. A.G.I. Christie) was an English writer and teacher on embroidery techniques and embroidery history. She is regarded as one of the most influential people in the early twentieth century with respect to the development of embroidery and embroidery studies in Britain and elsewhere.

Anna Grace Ida Chadburn was born in Poplar (Middlesex, England), the daughter of the Rev. James Chadburn (a Congregational preacher), who was involved in the artistic life of London and elsewhere. He was sufficiently wealthy to enable his children to live independent lives.

Grace (as she preferred to be known) married Archibald Christie, who was working as a teacher at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, an institute that was founded by the Rev. Chadburn in the late nineteenth century. Grace Chadburn was also a student there. Archibald Christie went on to become the first professor of design at the Royal College of Art, London. Grace Christie also taught at the Royal College of Art and helped students to move away from the designs of the Arts and Crafts Movement towards a more technically aware form of embroidery. She encouraged her students to work on historical embroideries from all periods, not just the medieval forms. In 1914 she started a needlework magazine called the Needle and Thread, which was a mixture of ‘new’ designs and historical information about embroidery. Mrs. Christie wrote many books and articles (see the list published by Edwards). Her major works are regarded as being:

  • Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving, London: Pitman and Sons (1906) (downloadable here)
  • Embroidery (1909) (downloadable here)
  • Samplers and Stitches, London: B.T. Batsford (1920)
  • English Medieval Embroidery, Oxford: Claredon Press (1938). This book is generally regarded as her most important, in-depth and well researched publication, for which she is now remembered by those studying medieval European embroidery forms.


  • COATSWORTH, Elizabeth (2014). ' 'A formidable undertaking.' Mrs. A.G.I. Christie and English medieval embroidery,' in: Robin Netherton and Gale Owen-Crocker (eds.), Medieval Clothing and Textiles, vol. 10, pp. 165-194.
  • EDWARDS, Joan (1976). 'A survey of English literature of embroidery 1840-1940,' Bulletin of the Needle and Bobbin Club, vol. .59, pp. 3-20. [[available at:]] (retrieved 4 June 2016).

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 18 June 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 31 January 2017 12:33