Frayed: Textiles on the Edge
10 October 2013 – 2 March 2014
Historic and contemporary pieces are brought together to examine how textile has been used as a medium for self expression throughout the ages.
A pair of three-metre-long embroidered 'letters', each covered entirely in text, are displayed together for the first time.
The first was made by Lorina Bulwer while she was an inmate in the lunatic wing of Great Yarmouth Workhouse between 1901 and 1905, while the second is the handiwork of Anna Margaretta Brereton, made during a period of deep mourning that followed the loss of her two children in 1801.
Alongside these are other significant loans, including the Elizabeth Parker sampler from the V&A collection, in which the troubled young woman embroiders confessions of her sins and contemplates suicide.
Textile work by Tracey Emin provides a contemporary example of the sampler in practice, drawing connections between the past and artists working today.