King's Embroiderer

King's (Queen's) Embroiderer was an official position, from the late medieval period onwards, within the Great Wardrobe, a branch of the English monarch’s court.

The King’s Embroiderer actually made items of embroidery for the royal family, besides running the royal embroidery atelier. The Embroiderer was appointed for life, and normally a successor was appointed in advance of the incumbent's death. Items embroidered in this office included the monarch’s clothing, masque costumes, sword hangings, garters and girdles, armorial work such as the stars of the Order of the Garter, Cloths of State, herald’s tabards and liveries, banners and standards, and royal household furnishings for indoors, including items such as bed hangings and table carpets.

More embroidered objects were required for the royal stables (covers for the wagons of hunting hounds, horse trappings, stools for mounting horses, side saddles, etc.), as well as decorative cloths for the royal barge. In addition, the King’s Embroiderer was responsible for ecclesiastical embroidery for the royal chapels and for covers for Bibles and prayer books. The King’s Embroiderer was also in a position to take on work for private patrons.

Some of the King’s Embroiderers of the seventeenth century included William Broderick (James I); John Shepley (Charles I); Edmund Harrison (Charles I, Charles II); William Rutlish (Charles II) and George Pinckney (Charles II). Until the nineteenth century many King’s Embroiderers also held the title ‘Master’ of the London based Broderers' Company.

For France, see also the TRC Needles entry on Charles German de Saint Aubin.

Source: WARDLE, Patricia (1995). 'The King’s Embroiderer: Edmund Harrison (1590-1667), pt. II. His work', Textile History, 26 (2), pp. 139-184.


Last modified on Sunday, 07 May 2017 09:31
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