Royal seamstresses to visit Lancaster for first time

RSN worked on the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress.
RSN worked on the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress.

The Royal School of Needlework is bringing its renowned tuition to Lancaster for the first time next month.

Famous worldwide for its expertise and iconic embroidery projects, including the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress and the Queen’s Coronation Robe, the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) tutors have unrivalled expertise.

As the international centre of excellence for the art of hand embroidery, the Royal School of Needlework teaches a wide range of techniques and designs for beginners through to advanced, including Goldwork, Silk Shading and Crewelwork.

So if you are thinking of learning a new skill or developing your needlework techniques, the Royal School of Needlework is the place to go.

The forthcoming classes at RSN Lancaster take place from June 15 to 22, and will be taught by a former Lancaster University student, now a tutor at the Royal School of Needlework.

There are classes for all levels: Beginners (complete beginners or if you are a little ‘rusty’) can take an Introduction to Embroidery and create their own needlecase on Saturday June 15, while the more experienced stitchers can do a two-day Intermediate Surface Stitch and Goldwork class to make a Beetle Lavender Bag on Tuesday June 18 and Wednesday June 19.

And then, all levels can join in with a Silk Shading class on Friday June 21, to stitch a pretty viola and silverwork sheep design on a cherry stone heat bag (Saturday June 22).

The classes will be taught by RSN tutor Sara-Jane Dennis, who grew up on her parents’ farm in Sedbergh, Cumbria.

Sara-Jane studied a degree in art history at Lancaster University before going to the Royal School of Needlework to train as a tutor on the future tutor programme at Hampton Court Palace.

RSN classes in Lancaster are taught at The Storey in Meeting House Lane.

The Royal School of Needlework teaches across the UK including Hampton Court Palace in London and internationally.

The RSN began as the School of Art Needlework in 1872, founded by Lady Victoria Welby. The first president was Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria’s third daughter, known to the Royal School of Needlework as Princess Helena. The RSN began operating in a small room above a bonnet shop in Sloane Street, London, initially employing 20 ladies.

By 1903, after sterling fundraising efforts from Princess Helena and others, George, Prince of Wales (later King George V) was able to open a new purpose-built centre on Exhibition Road, close to the V&A Museum where, at its peak, the Royal School of Needlework employed around 150 workers.

For more information, visit royal-needlework.org.uk or call 020 3166 6938.