At the TextielMuseum in Tilburg, The Netherlands, from 1 December 2022 til 29 May 2023 the exhibition Koninklijk borduren – verhalen en vakmanschap (Royal embroidery – stitches and stories) can be seen. It is a one-off chance to see both the historical and new curtains for the Chinese Room of Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, The Netherlands, the private residence of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Also the whole proces of creating the new ones is shown.

The Chinese Room needed new curtains as the old ones turned out to be too fragile. They found their way to the Netherlands in the year 1791 as part of a lavish present by the former Dutch East India Company director Ulrich Gualtherus Hemmingson. He presented the silk, hand embroidered fabric from Canton (Guangzhou), China, to Stadtholder Willem V and his wife Wilhelmina, who loved Chinese art. The material was used for curtains and to upholster the furniture in the apartment of the Stadtholder, in what is now the Chinese Room.

Liesbeth Stinissen was asked to design a contemporary design based on the historical curtains. She found inspiration in the original embroidery, that showed scenes of Chinese architecture and daily life. She developed the machine and hand embroidery in collaboration with couture embroidery expert Anna Bolk, product developer Frank de Windt from the TextielLab and upholsterer Oostendorp. More than 150 emboiderers from across the Netherlands helped embroidering the new curtains, and even Queen Máxima herself helped.

On the new curtains three thematic walks through the Netherlands in 60 embroidered scenes were developed on six curtains and three lambrequins (top panels). The blue walk symbolises the Dutch relationship with water, associated built structures and everyday scenes. The theme of the green walk is nature, art and science. The orange walk incorporates motifs that are connected to Dutch history and political, social or personal stories related to the House of Orange. The Wadden Islands are at the top of the design, Limburg on the bottom right. Also included are natural motifs from the historical curtains. One can look for ages and see something new each time: flowers, people, boats, birds, animals, bridges, buildings. You will discovers the Mauritshuis, Palace Huis ten Bosch, the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, the Palace Council House in Tilburg, Palace Het Loo, the Prinsenhof in Delft, the royal yacht De Groene Draeck and a lot more.

The exhibition can only be visited in time slots and with a valid e-ticket.


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