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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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embroidery sample

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Two small panels of crimson satin embroidered with couched silver over a raised or padded ground and silver wire or strip wound round a bundle of silk threads. Each panel has an interlace pattern border which has been executed in pairs of silver wire threads. On one piece, a crown surmounting a Tudor rose between two baluster-like columns; on the second piece, a crown over the initials HR separated by a column. The 'h' is lower case and both letters curly. The centres of both crowns formed of an applied piece of 'Cloth of Gold', the centre of the rose is in cloth of silver. No lining; a number of repairs.


  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 3.25 inches
    • Width: 3.25 inches
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

        Roman capitals
      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

        H R
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Henricus Rex
      • Inscription Translation

        King Henry
      • Inscription Comment

        royal monogram of Henry VIII of England
  • Curator's comments

    See also 1895,0810,37.b
    Possibly cut from a prayer-book or other bookbinding. For a similar needlework bookbinding for a manuscript of 1615, see Margaret Swain, 'Embroidered Stuart Pictures', p. 16.
    Santina Levey suggests that these panels may be part of a purse, perhaps a gift from Henry. She is to publish the panels in a publication for the Antiquaries on Henry VIII's royal embroideries. DFT


  • Condition

    Embroidery is intact, but the satin is split in places and worn on the edges.

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


Small pieces of cloth of gold used as applied ground to the embroidered corwns on the two purse panels. Small piece of silver used as ground to rose on first panel.

Small pieces of cloth of gold used as applied ground to the embroidered corwns on the two purse panels. Small piece of silver used as ground to rose on first panel.

Image description



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Object reference number: MCN2691

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