A brief history of Elizabeth Bradley Needlepoint.

Founded in 1986, Elizabeth Bradley Designs have been designing and manufacturing quality tapestry kits, adding new designs to our expansive library each year.  Having grown since then into a leading global supplier of needlepoint kits and supplies,  in 2014, we entered into the luxury home and design space with our line of stitched needlepoint pillows:  www.elizabethbradleyhome.com


Using a needle and thread to create beautiful items for our homes and clothing is an activity that can be traced to the dawn of human history.   With the invention of steel needles during the early Renaissance period in Europe, a whole industry of creating embroidered decorative items was born.    

More specifically, and popularised in the UK post 1830, the predecessor to our modern Needlepoint pastime was “Berlin wool work”.  Berlin wool work is a type of cross stitch using soft brightly coloured wool. In 1831, a Mr. Wilks of Regent Street imported large amounts of quality designs, painted patterns and working materials from Berlin, Vienna and Paris. By the middle of the 19th century, Berlin wool work patterns had become the preferred designs for British embroiderers.

Queen Victoria's third daughter Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein founded The Royal School of Needlework in 1872. This was an attempt to re-establish needlework to the prestigious place it once held in high society and, in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, as a respectable form of employment. Influence from the Arts and Crafts Movement could also be seen here, as a major contributor to the resurgence of textile art; William Morris maintained how people originally achieved enjoyment through handicrafts as a dichotomy to the automation of the industrial age.

The floral designs and bright colours of todays needlepoint differ from the Berlin wool work of the past, but it is important to remember that needlework has a magnificent heritage. When you start your needlepoint tapestry project, or acquire your new finished pillow, you are continuing in the tradition of Berlin wool work, and the passion for beautiful things we all share.

Reflecting the artisan craftsmanship and superior products Elizabeth Bradley Designs has always been known for, our new line of finished museum quality needlepoint pillows follows a rich heritage of interior design art, offering a nod to the historical needlework styles of the past while complementing any room of the home.

Each beautiful needlepoint pillow showcases over 100 hours of hand stitching, the finest wool spun in the United Kingdom and the highest grade European canvas, ensuring the durability that is expected with an Elizabeth Bradley Designs item. With designs ranging from classic to modern, every Elizabeth Bradley Designs pillow reflects a heritage of design and quality that is unmatched.

From our offices located in Oxford, England - often referred to as the city of dreaming spires and home to one of the world’s leading universities, we find the finest materials from the best suppliers the world has to offer, and manufacture these into the highest quality products for you to enjoy for many years to come.