The little-known art of Berlin Work was once the most commonly practiced art form among European women. Pictorial Embroidery in England is the first academic study of both pictorial Berlin Work and its precursor, needlepainting, exploring their cultural status in the 18th and 19th centuries.
From Enlightenment practices of copying to the development of an industrial aesthetic and the making of the modern amateur, Berlin Work developed as an official knowledge associated with notions of cultural and scientific progress. However, with the advent of the Arts and Crafts movement and modernist aesthetics, Berlin Work was gradually demoted to a craft hobby. Delving into the social, cultural and economic context of English pictorial embroidery, Pictorial Embroidery in England recovers Berlin Work as an art form, and demonstrates how this overlooked practice was once at the centre of cultural life.