Jacobean embroidery

Embroidered linen jacket c. 1614-18
Sketch of a portion of the base or terra firma from an 18th(?) century curtain.[1]

Jacobean embroidery refers to embroidery styles that flourished in the reign of King James I of England in first quarter of the 17th century.

The term is usually used today to describe a form of crewel embroidery used for furnishing characterized by fanciful plant and animal shapes worked in a variety of stitches with two-ply wool yarn on linen. Popular motifs in Jacobean embroidery, especially curtains for bed hangings, are the Tree of Life and stylized forests, usually rendered as exotic plants arising from a landscape or terra firma with birds, stags, squirrels, and other familiar animals.[1][2]


Early Jacobean embroidery often featured scrolling floral patterns worked in colored silks on linen, a fashion that arose in the earlier Elizabethan era. Embroidered jackets were fashionable for both men and women in the period 1600-1620, and several of these jackets have survived.

Crewel work on cotton and linen twill ground; stem stitch with long, short and coral stitches and French knots, 1630s V&A Museum no.T.124-1938


Jacobean embroidery was carried by British colonists to Colonial America, where it flourished. The Deerfield embroidery movement of the 1890s revived interest in colonial and Jacobean styles of embroidery.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Fitzwilliam, Ada Wentworth and A. F. Morris Hands, Jacobean Embroidery, Its Forms and Fillings Including Late Tudor, Keegan Paul, 1912
  2. 1 2 3 Christie, Grace: Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving, London 1912


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