Object name


Date made

Circa 2007

Place made


Panel with motifs of D for drawn thread, E for eyelets/edging, F for Florentine, G for goldwork/metal thread, H for hardanger, I for insertion, J for Jacobean, K for knots, L for laidwork, M for Mountmellick, N for net embroidery, and O for or nue. Part of a 34-part embroidered alphabet made by Dr Isabel Elliott and completed in 2007.

Content description

Double-sided panel with twelve appliqued panels, six on each side, representing the letters D, E, F, G, H, and I on one side and J, K, L, M, N, and O on the other. Both sides of the panel consist of unbleached linen with appliquéd bleached linen rectangles.

The 'D' is worked on a white even weave bleached linen over a dark blue cotton using chain stitch, knotted border, wrapped bars, and buttonhole corners. 'rawnthread' is worked in small, back stitch squares in orange cotton thread. Above and below the letters are examples of diagonal hem stitch, double twist, woven wheels, satin stitch, and knotted borders. The 'E' is made of blue square eyelets with back stitches. 'yelets edging' is worked in light green cotton back stitch squares and surrounded by round, diamond, and square eyelets in white.

The 'F' is worked in blue and green silk threads in Florentine stitch. It is surrounded by surrounded by a variation on Moorish stitch in white silk. 'lorentine' is in dark teal back stitch cotton squares, surrounded by additional variations on Florentine stitch in white cotton thread. The 'G' is rendered in gold thread on a dark green silk using kid leather at the corners and uses couching and cutwork to apply pearl purl, sequins, bright check, twist, passing, and bullion. 'oldwork - metal thread' is done in back stitched small squares in dark green cotton and is surrounded by counted satin stitch diamond motifs in white cotton thread.

The 'H' is worked on white linen over a light blue cotton, using wrapped bars, small eyelets, and buttonhole corner stitches. The 'ardanger' is in dark teal cotton back stitched squares and surrounded by examples of Hardanger counted satin stitch in white cotton. The 'I' is an inserted panel of needlelace in pinks and green silk threads. 'nsertion' is worked in purple cotton back stitched squares small squares and is surrounded by examples of insertion stitches in white cotton thread.

The 'J' is rendered backwards in a closed fly stitch in shades of green and blue wool. It is outlined with stem and chain stitch and surrounded by French knots and a simple trellis in purple cotton thread. 'acobean crewel' is worked in purple small squares in back stitch. Around the letters are examples of whipped back stitch, back-stitched chain, buttonhole, woven wheel, open fly, chain, stem, herringbone, and feather stitch provided in white cotton thread. The 'K' is worked on a dark green synthetic background in purple and green silk French knots. 'nots' is in light green cotton back stitched squares, with stem stitched Gordian knot patterns above and below in white cotton.

The 'L' is on a dark blue synthetic ground using laid work with a simple trellis over in shades of orange, all in cotton. It is outlined in couched gold thread. 'aidwork' is done in orange back stitches and surrounded by different trellis patterns in white cotton. The 'M' is on a white synthetic ground in white wool thread using stem, feather, chain, Mountmellick stitches, and French knots. The 'ountmellick' is worked in blue cotton back stitches and is surrounded by examples of buttonhole eyelets, whipped wheel, leaf, fly, feather, and loop stitches, as well as bullion and French knots. All are worked in white cotton thread.

The 'N' is worked in a white net over a dark green silk. 'et embroidery' is worked in dark green cotton back stitches and is surrounded by white cloud filling stitches in white cotton. The 'O' is depicted in or nue using red silk over gold thread. 'r nue' is in purple cotton back stitches with counted satin stitch motifs in white cotton above and below.

This panel is one of 34 parts of an embroidered alphabet made by Dr Isabel Elliott and completed in 2007. Elliott embroidered a large box which houses 32 four-sided booklets. Each booklet focuses one on letter of the alphabet and embroidery technique whose first letter matches that letter of the alphabet (A for appliqué, B for blackwork, etc.). Some letters have multiple booklets due to having multiple techniques. This large and impressive group of objects was made by Dr Isabel Margaret Elliott (1931-2016). She received her PhD from Cambridge in 1958 and became a paleobotanist at the Natural History Museum in London. It is clear that her love of science and the natural world influenced her embroidery. When she married her husband, Isabel was made to leave her job (as the Natural History Museum was then part of the civil service and married women were not allowed to be part of the civil service). She began to attend classes at the RSN after meeting a woman embroidering for a class run by that organisation. After the RSN she joined the Embroiderers' Guild. She became a Life Member of the Guild and gained her City & Guilds, which enabled her to teach. She was Mistress of Embroidery at Gloucester Cathedral and was a travelling tutor throughout the UK. Elliott produced an immense amount of embroidery, much of which is available to view at


width: 30cm
height: 23.5cm




Credit line

Gift of Susan Perkes, 2019.

Catalogue number


Other numbers

RSN 2296

Web references

© Royal School of Needlework