Object name



Date made


Place made


Framed sampler for Queen Elizabeth II's Robe of Estate (coronation robe), worn on 2nd June 1953.

Content description

This is a framed sampler of the stitches, motifs, and threads used for the embroidery on Queen Elizabeth II's Robe of Estate (coronation robe), worn on 2nd June 1953. It was created by the Royal School of Needlework for the coronation regalia exhibition in Birmingham and Leeds in 1953 and serves as a sample of the goldwork embroidery stitched onto the purple silk velvet ground woven by the firm of Warner and Sons in the spring of 1953. Included in the sampler is a sampling of 18 types of gold thread used on the robe. They are:

Smooth Purl
Rough Purl
Bright Check Purl
Dull Check Purl
Large Gold Bullion
Medium Gold Bullion
Smooth Bullion
Bright Check Bullion
Gold Passing
Gold Twist
Crinkled Plate
Embossed Plate
Large Pearl-Purl or Bead Purl
Pearl-Purl or Bead Purl
Twisted Gimp
Twisted Gimp

These threads were applied to the ground fabric, purple velvet, with couching, S-ing, flat cutwork (goldwork), bricking, and pearl purl application and were further embellished with sequins.

The motifs on the robe hold significant symbolic value for the monarchy, with depictions of entangled wheat ears and olive branches representing prosperity and peace. Rooted deeply in tradition, the olive branches also echo the use of olive oil as the consecrated anointment oil in the most sacred part of the coronation ceremony.

The complete design of the Robe of Estate, embroidered by 12 women including Miss Ruby Essam, Miss Violet Wise, and Miss Margaret Bartlett, took 3,500 hours to finish and ran around the edge of the robe, which was 6.5 metres long. The RSN completed the embroidery on the robe in a total of 3,500 hours from February to April 1953. The work was carried out in shifts from 7am to 10pm each day including weekends. The work was embroidered using huge wooden embroidery frames which are still used by the RSN's Studio. The RSN was awarded a Coronation Medal for its work on the Coronation Robe of Estate.


width: 35.5cm
height: 61cm





Catalogue number


Other numbers

RSN 94
© Royal School of Needlework