A Blackwork Embroidery Bibliography
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Any good craft or fabric store will have the basic supplies you need to
make blackwork. These sources will help you track down hard-to-find
reference materials on period needlework. Some also offer pre-assembled
- Linn Skinner. 100 Blackwork Charts and
Another 100 Blackwork Charts. Self-published,
Two spiralbound book of exquisite blackwork
designs from embroidery in English museums and other historical
sources. Highly recommended.
- Thomasina Beck. The Embroiderer's Flowers.
Newton Abbott, Devon: David and Charles,
In print and available at superstores everywhere,
book surveys floral embroidery for dress, furnishing, and textile art
from the Elizabethan era
through the 1980s. Most highly recommended.
- Mary Gostelow. Blackwork. New York: Van Nostrand
Reinhold, 1976; reprinted Dover Publications: ISBN: 0486401782.
Probably the most thorough single book on blackwork. Lots of
historical information, photos, and charted designs.
- George Wingfield Digby. Elizabethan Embroidery.
New York: Thomas Yoseloff,
The classic survey by the then-Keeper of Textiles at the
Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Rosemary Drysdale. The Art of Blackwork Embroidery.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975.
A nice feature of this one is that samples are shown both
charted and stitched.
- Marguerite Fawdry and Deborah Brown. The Book of Samplers.
Cameron and Tayleur, 1980. New York: St. Martin's, 1980.
Lots of bandwork designs from samplers, with practical
instructions on reproducing the designs. Many interesting and sensible
- Roy Strong. The English Icon: Elizabethan and Jacobean
Portraiture. London: The Paul Meloon Foundation
for British Art, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969.
Long out of print (try a university library), this
compendium of almost 400 portraits (most in black-and-white) is a great source for use of
blackwork in costume.
- Karen Hearn, editor. Dynasties: Paiting in Tudor and Jacobean
England 1530-1630. Rizzoli, 1996.
Companion volume to the Tate Gallery exhibition of 1995-1996. Over 150
period portraits, most reproduced in color, many showing blackwork
sleeves, collars, and smocks.
- Janet Arnold. Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd. W.S. Maney & Son.
An exhaustive (and expensive) catalogue of the Queen's
wardrobe, with many close-up images of blackwork
- Jane Ashelford. Dress in the Age of Elizabeth I.
B.T. Batsford Ltd. London. 1988.
Now out of print. Also available from Batsford is Ashelford's 1983
contribution to the Visual History of Costume series,
The Sixteenth Century.
- Therle Hughes. English Domestic Needlework. Abbey
Fine Arts. London. No date.
A classic. Out of print for years.
- Margaret Pascoe. Blackwork Embroidery.
B.T. Batsford ltd. London. 1986.
Shirley Kay Wolfersperger
writes: "As far as I am concerned, the best book on blackwork on
the market ... This one is a keeper."
- Barbara Snook. English Embroidery. Bell & Hyman.
Another book that needs to be in a blackwork library.
Lots of other techniques described, too.
- Lanto Synge, ed. The Royal School of Needlework Book of
Embroidery. William Collins Sons and Company. London. 1986.
Good pictures, technical explanations.
- Patricia Wardle.
Guide to English Embroidery. Victoria and Albert Museum.
Her Majesty's Stationery office. London. 1970.
Another like the above.
- Jane Zimmerman.
The Development of Western European Needlework:
Thirteenth Century Through Eighteenth Century.
Richmond, California. 1982. And English Secular
Needlework: Tudor and Stuart Periods.
Self-published. Richmond, California. 1992.
I hear these are excellent; they are available
directly from Ms. Zimmerman for her students.
- Kim Brody Salazar (writing as Ianthe d'Averoigne).
The New Carolingian Modelbook: Counted Embroidery
Patterns from Before 1600. Albuquerque:
Outlaw Press, 1995. ISBN 0-9642082-2-9.
I am pleased to able to offer a link to this excellent
resource again - see sample patterns or order the book online
Carolingian Modelbook website.
- Elizabeth Geddes and Moyra McNeill. Blackwork Embroidery.
New York: Dover Books, 1976. ISBN: 0-4862324-5-X.
A great introduction to blackwork in historical context. Highly
- Lacis in Berkeley, California,
stocks books and supplies on needlearts and costuming.
Bette S. Feinstein offers rare needlework books over the
'net. Search her site for the books you want.
stocks books on historical
textiles and costume, as well as patterns, corset supplies,
and hoop skirts.
- B.T. Batsford is a
speciality publisher in the U.K.; their areas of interest
include embroidery, lacemaking, and costume.
- X-Calibre Designs offers
blackwork charts and kits designed by Carol Leather.
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Renaissance: The Elizabethan World
Created 28 March 1996
Last Updated 21 January 2012