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Book cover and book mark

  • Place of origin:

    London (embroidered)

  • Date:

    ca. 1634 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Broderers Company (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Satin covered board, embroidered with silver, silver-gilt-thread, purl and coil, and coloured silks, and plaited threads

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the American and International Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Inc.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Object Type
Embroidery was much used for the bindings of religious books or presentation copies in England in the 16th and early 17th century. Although new covers might sometimes be made for precious books of an earlier date, the embroidery here is likely to be contemporary with the books.

Materials & Making
Bookbindings were sometimes worked by skilled amateur embroiderers. The best known examples are a series of books with embroidered bindings made by the future Queen Elizabeth I as New Year gifts for her father, Henry VIII, and his last wife, Katherine Parr. However, the materials that have been used here - metal thread, strip and purl - are difficult to use. When applied in embroidery of this quality, they almost always indicate professional work.

This binding was almost certainly carried out by a member of the Broderers' Company in London. The company was granted its charter for the organisation of professional work in 1561 and regulated the quality of embroideries sold to the public.

Physical description

Embroidered binding for 'The Book of Common Prayer' and bookmark.

Place of Origin

London (embroidered)


ca. 1634 (made)


Broderers Company (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Satin covered board, embroidered with silver, silver-gilt-thread, purl and coil, and coloured silks, and plaited threads

Object history note

Registered File number 1987/707.

Descriptive line

Embroidered binding for 'The Book of Common Prayer' and bookmark, possibly by Broderers Company, embroidered in London, ca. 1634

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Official catalogue of the Scottish National Needlework Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1934.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Embroidery was often used for the bindings of precious books. It was supplied by professional embroiderers, members of the Broderers' Company. This binding has an elaborate strapwork design with the Fountain of life in the central cartouche, and smaller pictures of the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

About 1634, for 'The Booke of Common Prayer', 1633, published by Robert Barker, London; 'The Whole Book of Psalmes', 1634


Silver thread; Silver-gilt thread; Silk thread; Purl


Satin weave; Embroidered; Plaited


Books; Embroidery; Christianity; British Galleries; Textiles


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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