Decorating textiles with a variety of stitch techniques, using coloured silks, yarns and other materials is of ancient origin.  Embroidery is an art form that stretches across the world with almost limitless possibilities.  In the 19th century the term ‘art needlework’ was coined.  It focuses attention on the collaboration between artist and needle worker to produce works of art.  Many English and European embroideries were produced and sometimes these works were designed by amateurs.  In earlier centuries embroidery was one of the few acceptable pastimes for gentlewomen and the production of samplers to practice and demonstrate a young girl's skill is well known.