Object name



Date made


Place made


Small and delicate whitework sample worked by a Royal School of Needlework Apprentice named Miss G. H. Parsons sometime between 1937 and 1940.

Content description

This is a fine whitework sampler that was worked between 1937 and 1940 by an Apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework named Miss G. H. Parsons. The piece is worked in white silk threads on bleached linen. It is displayed within a rectangular window and is visible on both sides, although the stitching is not two sided. The design centres on two L-shaped corner motifs and includes flowers, tendrils, and a bird. In the viewer's bottom left corner are three spherical fruit-like shapes, which include small overcast eyelets and satin stitch spheres which surround a centre with what appears to be a needlelace filling. Trailing has been used as an outline for each shape. Tendrils, also rendered using trailing, flow from these shapes, and growing from them are small leaves and star-like flowers, worked using satin stitch. A bird sits upon one of the tendrils and features a body made of long and short stitches and wings which have a dot stitch filling and an outline of trailing. Feathers, rendered in slanted satin stitch, extend from the wings.

In this bottom left corner, there are two flowers which include five petals which have what appears be a raised burden stitch filling and also dot stitch. A larger, four leafed flower also features, with petals of fine pulled and drawn thread work, including wrapped bars (drawn thread). The flower's centre features a variation on diagonal cross filling.

In the sample's top right corner is a larger leaf which is rendered using padded satin stitch and sections of dot stitch, along with some smaller buds and flowers of satin stitch and fine drawn and pulled work in wrapped bars and diagonal cross filling.

The piece has surviving signs of its assessment. At the time, assessors for the RSN apprenticeship programme placed red stamps on an assessed piece to indicate its quality. One red stamp indicated the embroidery was good, two great, and three excellent. Though it looks as if this highly skilled piece was only granted one stamp, closer inspection reveals that two further stamps have been lost to time, leaving subtle marks on the frame's glass.

Miss Parsons was an Apprentice at the RSN from 1937 to 1940. Upon finishing the apprenticeship she joined the war effort, qualifying as a nurse. After her qualification she moved to Kenya, where she lived for many years.


width: 19.5cm
height: 16cm





Credit line

Gift of Miss G. H. Parsons, 1994.

Catalogue number


Other numbers

RSN 1047
© Royal School of Needlework