Tuesday, 25 August 2015


I love exploring the history behind things. I got hooked on gold work when taking a seminar from The Royal House of Needlework several years ago.  Here's my second project in the works. It's from an ANG Correspondence Course called "English Heart I":

Goldwork is believed to have originated in China centuries ago.  It spread to Egypt, to Italy and Spain, Western Europe and eventually to North America. Goldwork can even be found in the tombs of the pharaohs.

Gold has historically been a symbol of affluence and high social status. It’s one of the oldest form of English embroidery with records dating before the 10th century. Goldwork was traditionally created for church vestments and trappings. Because specially trained groups created this embroidery, only the very wealthy could afford to retain the artisans. It was classed as a great art, because of its fine art concept and historical properties.

“Then came Henry the VIII’s reign, which brought an end to this glorious period in English Goldwork Embroidery. With his split from the Catholic Church, the destruction of all things connected with Goldwork Embroidery was the order of the day.

“As with everything Catholic, they were destroyed or melted down for their gold content value. The loss of all these valuable garments the quality of which will never be reproduced again was inestimable."  Information Courtesy of The Golden Hinde

Though Henry VIII destroyed thousands of valuable garments, he didn’t flinch when it came to his own attire. He had his clothing embellished to gold and jewels. Elizabeth I was known for her richly embellished dresses and robes.

Unfortunately, today it’s an uncommon skill, as few embroiderers work this fine art today. I encourage you to go to The Golden Hinde for more information. The website is rich with information about this fabulous form of embroidery. 

“Try it – You might like it!”


  1. Oh my, one thinks about the buildings, religious art etc being destroyed but never thought about the clothes and the vestments 😟

    1. Indeed, it was incredible- but old Henry didn't skimp on his duds....

  2. Kim, thank you so much for sharing this with us - so fascinating. I had never thought about the destruction of the Church vestments in Tudor Times.

  3. It was so tragic - yet ironically, Henry and Anne Boleyn's daughter brought back much of the glory that was least with her royal garments- not the Church....

    1. Not the Church's vestments....

  4. I love goldwork.... but have never had the courage to attempt it! Maybe one day - in the meantime I will just sit back and drool over yours! :o)
    So sad how so many things have been destroyed over the years by people with different thinking..... still happening today in some places!
    Hugs xx