A selection of virtuoso 17th-century embroideries from the Feller Collection, displayed together with examples from the Ashmolean’s own holdings.
The exhibition includes samplers, pictoral panels, boxes, cushions, caps, coifs and gloves, crafted from colourful silks, pearls, and semi-precious stones.
These pieces are used to examine how embroidery practice reinforced women's social status and modes of appropriate behaviour. Needlework was one of the few approved activities for a woman in the 17th century; the painstaking discipline it required was seen as a reflection of her godliness. As such, the embroideries on display reveal the religious, political and social concerns of the English Civil War period.