The Embroidered Furnishings of Lethbridge Sisters with Dr Lynn Hulse

Lady Julia Carew at her embroidery frame
Dr Lynn Hulse came to talk to us on Monday 20 May 2019 about the Lethbridge Sisters and their wonderful embroideries. Lynn, who has a background in 17th century English music, studied at the Royal School of  Needlework (RSN) in 2003. She is also an archivist and went on to catalogue part of the RSN's collection.

The Lethbridge sisters, Lady Julia Carew (1863-1922) and Lady Jane Cory (1864-1947) also studied with the RSN, formerly known at the Royal School of Art Needlework. They became very well known for their embroideries with which they furnished their Irish and London homes.

Working from outlines, Julia and Jane used vegetable dyes to colour their woollen and silk threads and used a modest range of stitches, including long and short, stem, satin stitch and French knots.

Julia's passion was for antique embroidery and crewel work in the Jacobean style.

Sample of The Tree of Life at Girton College
She created 13 panels, measuring 11ft by 4ft for Castleboro, her Irish home. When the house was destroyed in 1922, the embroideries were dispersed. Examples of her panels can be seen at Girton College, Cambridge and there are examples of upholstery at Hartlebury Castle.



Jane's embroideries were more naturalistic in style and included designs by Nellie Whichelo (The Pomegranate Tree).

'Flora' and 'Pomona' are based on designs created by Edward Burne-Jones for William Morris & Co. A collection of Jane's work is now in the Te Papa museum in New Zealand.

Thank you Lynn, for giving us such a fascinating talk. The size of the wall panels is hard to comprehend but must have look amazing when hung in the splendour of their homes.