Embroidery

Embroidery is the art of stitching ornamental designs in threads of cotton, silk, gold, or silver upon a woven fabric. Archaeological evidence indicates that human populations began widely trading embroidered goods as early as the 5th century B.C. Trade not only exposed important differences in the style and cultural meaning of embroidery, but also resulted in the migration and fusion of stitching techniques and imagery. For example, embroideries produced in Russia in the 1st century B.C. reveal influence from China, particularly Chinese chain- stitching techniques and representations of dragons.

In Medieval Europe, royalty often commissioned embroiderers to create monumental pieces commemorating their rule. Around 1080, English embroiderers, possibly nuns at Canterbury Cathedral, created the Bayeux Tapestry to illustrate William the Conqueror’s successful conquest of England. During the Renaissance, Netherlandish embroidery was highly sought after and collected by notable European figures including Henry VIII of England and Pope Leo X of Italy.

Developments during the 19th and 20th centuries led to the commercialization of embroidery, as well as greater interest in applying techniques used in fine and graphic art. Since the '50s, there has been a renewed appreciation for the craftsmanship and delicate skill required to produce intricately-embroidered works. Collectors of embroidery will find a rich assortment of unique pieces available at auction from across the world.


Quick Facts

  • On November 26, 2014, Christie’s Hong Kong sold an imperial embroidered silk thangka for $45,142,597
  • In Muslim cities such as Damascus, Cairo, and Istanbul, embroidery was a sign of elevated social status. Those who could afford embroidered textiles displayed their wealth by wearing embroidered tunics, robes, shoes, slippers, leather belts, and handkerchiefs
  • Today, embroidery software allows machines to stitch digitized patterns onto fabric

Recommended Items at Auction

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SMALL EMBROIDERED PURDUE THROW PILLOW
Oct 17, 12:00 PM EDT
SMALL EMBROIDERED PURDUE THROW PILLOW
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$165 Bids
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VINTAGE EMBROIDERED SEAT AND HAND CARVED WOOD CHAIR
Oct 17, 12:00 PM EDT
VINTAGE EMBROIDERED SEAT AND HAND CARVED WOOD CHAIR
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$64 Bids
An interesting embroidered silk ceremonial or court cape, probably French, early 19th century,
Oct 25, 10:30 AM BST
An interesting embroidered silk ceremonial or court cape, probably French, early 19th century,
by Kerry Taylor Auctions
Est: £150- £250
£1202 Bids
Eliza Ann Sloan Fine Silk Embroidered Picture
Oct 22, 9:00 AM EDT
Eliza Ann Sloan Fine Silk Embroidered Picture
by Brunk Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
A PRAYER ARCH OF EAU DE NIL SATIN OTTOMAN
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
A PRAYER ARCH OF EAU DE NIL SATIN OTTOMAN
by Plakas Auctions
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£1,0001 Bid
An Ottoman gilt metal thread embroidered panel, Turkey, 18th century, of re
Oct 26, 10:30 AM BST
An Ottoman gilt metal thread embroidered panel, Turkey, 18th century, of re
by Roseberys
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£7001 Bid
Early 20th Century Silk On Gold Metal Embroidery Calligraphy Kaaba Key Cover
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
Early 20th Century Silk On Gold Metal Embroidery Calligraphy Kaaba Key Cover
by Plakas Auctions
Est: £600- £800
£6001 Bid
Veronica Kadjuak Manilak, Rankin Inlet, 27 x 20 in. (68.6 x 50.8 cm)
Oct 27, 9:00 AM PDT
Veronica Kadjuak Manilak, Rankin Inlet, 27 x 20 in. (68.6 x 50.8 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $150- $250
$1001 Bid
A boy's embroidered scarlet velvet court coat, Indian, late 19th century,
Oct 25, 10:30 AM BST
A boy's embroidered scarlet velvet court coat, Indian, late 19th century,
by Kerry Taylor Auctions
Est: £800- £1,200
£6001 Bid
A boy's elaborately embroidered and bejewelled purple satin waistcoat, Indian, late 19th century
Oct 25, 10:30 AM BST
A boy's elaborately embroidered and bejewelled purple satin waistcoat, Indian, late 19th century
by Kerry Taylor Auctions
Est: £700- £1,000
£5501 Bid
A boy's embroidered olive-green velvet court coat, Indian, late 19th century,
Oct 25, 10:30 AM BST
A boy's embroidered olive-green velvet court coat, Indian, late 19th century,
by Kerry Taylor Auctions
Est: £500- £900
£4001 Bid
Decorative Object Assortment
Oct 17, 10:00 AM CDT
Decorative Object Assortment
by Leonard Auction
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
A sky-blue velvet flapper dress, circa 1928,
Oct 25, 10:30 AM BST
A sky-blue velvet flapper dress, circa 1928,
by Kerry Taylor Auctions
Est: £200- £300
£1601 Bid
Ottoman embroidery: to include a substan
Oct 21, 1:00 PM BST
Ottoman embroidery: to include a substan
by Kinghams Auctioneers
Est: £100- £200
£601 Bid
Moroccan embroideries, perhaps 19th cent
Oct 21, 1:00 PM BST
Moroccan embroideries, perhaps 19th cent
by Kinghams Auctioneers
Est: £150- £250
£901 Bid
Large Lot of Hungarian Hand Embroidered Tablecloths and doilies
Oct 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Large Lot of Hungarian Hand Embroidered Tablecloths and doilies
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$101 Bid
§ TRACEY EMIN (BRITISH B. 1963)
Nov 03, 2:00 PM GMT
§ TRACEY EMIN (BRITISH B. 1963)
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £800- £1,200
£801 Bid
Large Lot of Hungarian Hand Made Tablecloths and Embroideries
Oct 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Large Lot of Hungarian Hand Made Tablecloths and Embroideries
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$100 Bids
*Marjorie Hayes (1913-2005)
Oct 19, 10:00 AM BST
*Marjorie Hayes (1913-2005)
by Sworders
Est: £200- £300
£1600 Bids
ENGLISH ARTS & CRAFTS APPLIQUE WALL HANGING, CIRCA 1900
Oct 20, 10:00 AM BST
ENGLISH ARTS & CRAFTS APPLIQUE WALL HANGING, CIRCA 1900
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £300- £500
£1500 Bids
MAY MORRIS (1862-1938) FOR MORRIS & CO. EMBROIDERED PANEL, CIRCA 1890
Oct 20, 10:00 AM BST
MAY MORRIS (1862-1938) FOR MORRIS & CO. EMBROIDERED PANEL, CIRCA 1890
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids
SCOTTISH LARGE EMBROIDERED CUSHION, THE MATERIAL CIRCA 1900
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
SCOTTISH LARGE EMBROIDERED CUSHION, THE MATERIAL CIRCA 1900
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £300- £500
£1500 Bids
GLASGOW SCHOOL TWO FRAMED EMBROIDERED PANELS, CIRCA 1910
Oct 21, 10:00 AM BST
GLASGOW SCHOOL TWO FRAMED EMBROIDERED PANELS, CIRCA 1910
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £250- £350
£1200 Bids
MORRIS & CO. EMBROIDERED PANEL, CIRCA 1890
Oct 20, 10:00 AM BST
MORRIS & CO. EMBROIDERED PANEL, CIRCA 1890
by Lyon & Turnbull
Est: £400- £600
£2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Embroidery


Kinghams Auctioneers

Kinghams Auctioneers

Kerry Taylor Auctions

Kerry Taylor Auctions

Roseberys

Roseberys

Lyon & Turnbull

Lyon & Turnbull