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Embroidered Book Covers

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30 June 2008

Embroidered Book Covers

I noticed that my blog statistics package that an awful lot of people were searching for information on Embroidered Book Covers - and finding my project.
I thought I'd provide some links on them, to further help :-)

Examples and history :-

Prose, poems, points & purls: Embroidered book covers

by Christian de Holacombe

An excellent paper on the various types of embroidered covers, particularly in the 15th and 16th C.

English Embroidered Bookbindings

by Cyril Davenport, 1848 - 1941

All about the history, types, design and making of Embroidered BookBindings in canvas, velvet and satin. Many beautiful pictures.

Princess Elizabeth’s Embroidered Books

A short news article that describes the books that Princess (later Queen Elizabeth 1) embroidered, including pictures

Textile bookbinding - Koninklijke Bibliotheek - National Library of the Netherlands

A description of a book cover, 1615-1620. Includes a history of embroidered bookbinding

The Guide to English Embroidered BookBindings in the British Library

History :

Viewing examples :

    • Go to
    • Choose "Perform a Keyword Search"
    • Select either "List or Gallery" (I prefer List myself - you see more of them on the page)
    • Type 'embroidered' into the search box
    • Hit the "Search" button
    • (of course, you can always choose the Advanced Search if you are looking for Embroidered Book Covers of a particular origin/era)


Making an Embroidered BookCover :-

Project - Show and Tell : A period bookbinding

by Iulitta Rowan of Arran

"This project is a book cover inspired by the embroidered binding of a Bible presented to King Henry VIII of England in 1543.

The thread used is metal twist, made with a flat ribbon of metal wrapped in a spiral around a central silk core. The design is a deceptively simple-looking single-line drawing. The outer border is a reversible flame pattern, separated from the inner pattern by a double straight-line box. The inner design is a flowing pattern of flowers and leaves surrounding a central double circle. The pattern incorporates points, curves, circles, straight lines, right angles, sharp corners, and the solid initials (“HR”) of the intended recipient, Henry Rex. I reduced it to fit my book, adapted it slightly for simplicity, and changed the initials to “IP,” the initials of the friend for whom I made this."

She then goes on to describe the process of making this cover.

Elizabethan Embroidered Book Bindings

Mistress Martelle von Charlottenburg
Baroness of the Bright Hills, Atlantia

Cover #1 After a bookcover embroidered by Elizabeth I for Katherine Parr
Cover #2, After a bible cover owned by Henry VIII
Both of these book covers are made in velvet.

Lady Martel tells how she created her own versions.

Making a Removable Elizabethan Embroidered Book Cover

Mistress Martelle von Charlottenburg
Baroness of the Bright Hills, Atlantia

Instructions on how to make a removable book cover. These are the instructions I used to make my own cover - they are very clear, and it works.

Mary’s Communion Bookcover

by Mary Corbet (

Mary makes an embroidered book cover for her niece’s first communion. These entries are mainly about the preparation of the linen to be used, the design, and the stitching she does, including couching padded with string

Elmsley Rose's Book Cover

under the label "Embroidered Book Cover" in this blog - where I discuss the design, embroidering and making of my own Elizabethan Embroidered Book Cover

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