Virtual Tour through Textile Exhibitions in the UK

May 25, 2008 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Embroidery, Lace, Museums and Exhibitions | 2 Comments
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I’m currently planning to spend some time travelling through the UK this summer. The most difficult part is of course figuring out where to go and what to see. So I decided to have a look through the web to try to find out about places showing old needlework and especially lace. Most of those places seem to have really good websites nowadays, so I think you’ll enjoy my virtual tour even if you can’t go to see the real places. I think I won’t be able to see all of them, either, in what little time I have.

The first place I really want to see is Hardwick Hall. Here are the deciding sentences in the exhibition description:

Inside the atmospheric Hall you can see Europe’s finest collection of 16th- and 17th-century embroideries and tapestries. The award-winning ‘Threads of Time’ exhibition tells visitors the story of Bess and the collections in the Hall.

The Cowper and Newton Museum at Olney is situated in an old lace making village. They’ve got an extensive virtual tour about the history of lace-making in that place, which is quite interesting. While you’re there, you should definitely also have a look at the pictures from a special lace exhibition that took place there in 2002.

Further surfing took me to the Allhallows Museum in Honiton. While the lace page is not very extensive, Honiton is a familiar name for anybody interested in the history of lace.

My next and final stop for today is really a no-brainer: the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. You can get lost on that website (as you can probably in the museum itself, if what I read there is any indication), but it’s really fun exploring. For anybody planning to actually go there in the near future, some parts of the textile collections are currently closed because of renovations going on. For a purely virtual visit, you can search the collections online and see lots of pictures. Entering “Lace” as the search term gives 436 results, so you can see the collection is really extensive.

So, that’s all for the moment, I promise to post a review of the places I managed to visit after my holidays.



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  1. If you would like some company when you visit the V&A, I’d be happy to help. Despite having lived in London for nearly 3 years, I still haven’t managed to visit it yet!

  2. I’d be more than happy to have your company, as I’m sure you know. Let’s see what we can come up with once I’m a bit further along on the scheduling side!

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