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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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EMBROIDERED PILLOW CASES
Jul 25, 4:00 PM CDT
EMBROIDERED PILLOW CASES
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$53 Bids
(2 Pc) Antique Armorial Embroideries
Jul 25, 12:00 PM EDT
(2 Pc) Antique Armorial Embroideries
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $100- $1,000
$502 Bids
Antique Silk Embroidered Cover, Gujarat, Ca. 1900
Jul 31, 11:00 AM EDT
Antique Silk Embroidered Cover, Gujarat, Ca. 1900
by Material Culture
Est: $100- $300
$501 Bid
Embroidered Picture. Saint John the Evangelist, Continental, 16th century
Jul 26, 10:00 AM BST
Embroidered Picture. Saint John the Evangelist, Continental, 16th century
by Dominic Winter Auctions
Est: £200- £300
£2001 Bid
Mary Ann Lincoln Embroidered Textile
Jul 25, 7:00 PM EDT
Mary Ann Lincoln Embroidered Textile
by Embassy Auctions International
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
Assorted doilies, Actil sheets & boxed embroidered table cloth napkin set
Jul 24, 10:00 AM AEST
Assorted doilies, Actil sheets & boxed embroidered table cloth napkin set
by Woodlands Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD100
AUD101 Bid
Macedonian Ritual Towel, 19th C.
Jul 31, 11:00 AM EDT
Macedonian Ritual Towel, 19th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
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Victorian Fire Screen
Jul 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Victorian Fire Screen
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $250- $500
$1000 Bids
framed embroidery
Jul 22, 5:00 PM CEST
framed embroidery
by Ansorena
Est: €150- €200
€1000 Bids
Takashi Murakami (b.1962) Flower Plush Cushion
Jul 31, 1:00 PM BST
Takashi Murakami (b.1962) Flower Plush Cushion
by Forum Auctions - UK
Est: £200- £300
£1800 Bids
BASKET OF DOILIES AND EMBROIDERED LINENS
Jul 29, 4:00 PM EDT
BASKET OF DOILIES AND EMBROIDERED LINENS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
DOILIES AND EMBROIDERED CLOTH ITEMS
Jul 29, 4:00 PM EDT
DOILIES AND EMBROIDERED CLOTH ITEMS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
"Court scene", framed cross stitch embroidery, early 20th century
Jul 23, 5:00 PM CEST
"Court scene", framed cross stitch embroidery, early 20th century
by Ansorena
Est: €375- €500
€2400 Bids
HANKIES, DOILIES, AND EMBROIDERED NAPKINS
Jul 29, 4:00 PM EDT
HANKIES, DOILIES, AND EMBROIDERED NAPKINS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
Woolwork Embroidery of a Medieval Hunting Party, Mid 19th Century
Aug 03, 9:30 AM EDT
Woolwork Embroidery of a Medieval Hunting Party, Mid 19th Century
by Rafael Osona Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$2000 Bids
Antique American Peacock and Floral Embroidered Satin and Velvet Coverlet, 19th Century
Aug 03, 9:30 AM EDT
Antique American Peacock and Floral Embroidered Satin and Velvet Coverlet, 19th Century
by Rafael Osona Auctions
Est: $250- $350
$2000 Bids
Commemorative Silk Embroidery, Japan "In Remembrance of My Cruise Around the World, early 20th Century
Aug 03, 9:30 AM EDT
Commemorative Silk Embroidery, Japan "In Remembrance of My Cruise Around the World, early 20th Century
by Rafael Osona Auctions
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$1,0000 Bids
Collector's Lot of 6 Assorted Textiles, 20th C.
Jul 31, 11:00 AM EDT
Collector's Lot of 6 Assorted Textiles, 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $150- $250
$750 Bids
White thread tablecloth with white and gray embroidered flower decoration
Jul 22, 5:00 PM CEST
White thread tablecloth with white and gray embroidered flower decoration
by Ansorena
Est: €135- €180
€900 Bids
§ DAME TRACEY EMIN CBE RA (BRITISH B.1963)
Jul 25, 11:00 AM BST
§ DAME TRACEY EMIN CBE RA (BRITISH B.1963)
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £700- £1,000
£5500 Bids
A PAIR OF BALKAN EMBROIDERED SLIPPERS.
Jul 24, 10:30 AM BST
A PAIR OF BALKAN EMBROIDERED SLIPPERS.
by John Nicholson's Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: £30- £40
£250 Bids
Embroidered Picture. Epsom Races, circa 1890
Jul 26, 10:00 AM BST
Embroidered Picture. Epsom Races, circa 1890
by Dominic Winter Auctions
Est: £200- £300
£2000 Bids
Amanda Kruger (SA 20th C) 5 x 20th C Embroideries of Figures, 28 x 18
Jul 22, 7:00 PM SAST
Amanda Kruger (SA 20th C) 5 x 20th C Embroideries of Figures, 28 x 18
by 5th Avenue Auctioneers
Est: R500- R700
R2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Embroidery


Dominic Winter Auctions

Dominic Winter Auctions

Rafael Osona Auctions

Rafael Osona Auctions

Kodner Galleries

Kodner Galleries

Corte Real, Leiloeira

Corte Real, Leiloeira