Broderers visit to the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers Exhibition

Commemorating the 400th anniversary of their first royal charter

We gathered at the Guildhall Art Gallery after the Exhibition had closed to the general public – for what we realised was a true spectacle. The Exhibition Curator Karen Watts introduced the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers – a company firmly established by the 15th century as a protected English trade. By the early 16th century their status was such they worked directly for King Henry VIII. Wire drawers accompanied the King in 1520 to the tournament, now known as Field of Cloth of Gold - named because of the sheer number of pavilions decorated with gold wire work. The King’s Book of Payments records payment to a John Burton, wiredrawer, for gold and embroidery for doublets intended as a gift for the King of France.

King James I granted the Company their first Charter in 1623.

Fellow Broderer Liz Elvin highlighted a number of the exhibits with embroidery, including the Broderers 16th century Crown and the modern reproduction version. It was a thrill to see military uniforms so close, compared to on the small screen and it was generally agreed the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cope designed by Beryl Dean for the Bishop of London in 1977, was exquisite.

Broderer Liz Elvin offering ideas to the Master for embroidery on his lapels!

The Exhibition showcases the vast range of uses for gold and silver wire – historic and modern embroidery, both ecclesiastical and military, as well as for Royal regalia and celebrations and the performing arts, across stage and screen; in jewellery and objets art.

Beside the sheer beauty skill on display, who could fail to be impressed by the waist size of Queen Mary (wife of George V) evidenced by her Coronation dress and Darcey Bussell (Royal Ballet Principal Dancer) who performed Sylvia in 2004, only a few months after having a baby!

Exhibition Curator Karen Watts, between Broderers Liz Elvin and Diana Springall.

As ever, a very social evening with an unparalleled opportunity to see such a fantastic Exhibition. Congratulations to the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers for their quatercentenary.