The Embroiderers’ Guild celebrates Capability Brown

14.10.2016 | category: General
Autumn Vista, Harewood House by Naomi Renouf
Autumn Vista, Harewood House by Naomi Renouf

The Embroiderers’ Guild is delighted to be a Capability Brown Festival partner and has contributed to the Festival celebrations by offering a series of unique textile exhibitions hosted at venues around the country.  Using his landscapes as their inspiration for this exciting project, textile artists countrywide have interpreted them with fabric and thread to produce unique pieces of textile art.  We worked with some of the finest Brown sites - Blenheim Palace, Croome Park, Stowe Landscape Gardens, Milton Abbey, Wallington Hall, Bowood and Petworth to name just a few of the 19 which hosted an exhibition.

Textiles is an art form unlike any other – like traditional artists we use colour and form as a base, but an entirely new layer of design comes into play when stitches are added.  As the thread travels across the surface, stitches create paths which can direct the viewer’s eye, create a focal point, draw or deflect attention from a particular element, and create a texture that is at once visual and physical.  We believe textiles are as relevant today as they have ever been, and there is a place for traditional hand stitching alongside bold and contemporary machine work.

Our exhibitions have bought a new audience to the venues and shown visitors both the magnificent scope and fine details of his landscapes.  Using machine embroidery and/or hand stitching, members have created maps, old plans, cascades, lakes, trees, stitched quotes and even the man himself.  Members have stitched individual pieces in a variety of techniques or worked together on collaborative panels.  We have used a number of innovative methods to display the work, from conventional wall hanging to trellising in alcoves; from bespoke exhibition rooms to cushions on furniture throughout the venue, from conservatories to 18th Century temples.  We have hosted activity days, encouraging the public (and in particular children) to join in stitching activities celebrating Capability’s achievements.

Both The Guild and the venues have been excited and delighted at the response and popularity of the exhibitions.  Textiles is a visual art and it is difficult to use words to show the range of our work, but if you want to see just some of what we can do, there is an Embroiderers’ Guild Capability Brown Pinterest Board which shows the range and variety of work produced.  Almost 2,000 members have contributed to 46 exhibitions throughout the year from February to November – that is over 156 months of audience engagement.

Textiles have a unique ability to be able to interpret one topic in myriad different ways, no two alike, and show that subject in a new light.  We are looking for our next project and would be delighted to talk with anyone who wants to explore using textiles as part of their range of visitor attractions – contact us on or visit to find out more about what we do.

About the Author: Alex Messenger, The Embroiderers' Guild.



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