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PhD Studentship (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Award): "The Embroidery Trade in 18th-Century France"

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The University of Warwick and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London invite applications for one fully funded PhD studentship. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this three year PhD research programme will be supervised jointly by Warwick and the V&A. The successful studentship will commence in autumn 2015.

Deadline for applications extended to Monday 11 May 2015.

The Research

The selected student will investigate the products, skills and networks of the embroiderers of 18th-century France. Embroidery was not only a polite accomplishment but also a well-established trade by the 18th-century, subject to the fluctuations of fashions in secular and ecclesiastical clothing and furnishings. Embroidery also provides a useful case study of a sector that did not require sophisticated machinery or large capital investment, and was not involved in major technological change during the century.

This PhD will make a significant contribution to the history of fashion, as well as to other disciplines such as art, design and textile history, social and economic history, urban and gender history. It addresses in particular the following research questions:

  • What qualities – technical and aesthetic – identify embroidery as distinctively French?
  • What design sources were used, where did they come from, and how were they adapted?
  • How did techniques change over time (e.g. introduction of tambouring)?
  • How did the embroidery trade function in different cities (regulated or not by guild statutes), and where did it sit in the hierarchy of the urban trades?
  • How did embroiderers train; what were their working practices and ‘careers’?
  • What were their familial and professional networks?
  • What was the nature of their client base? Was it local, national, international?

The student will consider these questions through examining collections of embroidery, designs and prints in museums and sacristies in selected cities; analysis of guides to trades (Livre commode), commercial press (Affiches), and published treatises; and the exploration of archival sources, in particular, royal accounts, notarial and parish records, bankruptcy and legal proceedings. The sampling will cover two cities: Paris (capital; both guild and non-regulated), and Lyon (textile-manufacturing city; no guild).


The PhD will be jointly supervised by Professor Giorgio Riello (Department of History, University of Warwick) and Professor Lesley Miller, Senior Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the V&A).


Applications are welcome from Students from the UK and the EU.

The studentship will cover home fees (full time) and a stipend for UK students or EU students who have lived in the UK for three years prior to the award. Overseas students may also be eligible if they fulfil a range of residency requirements stipulated on the AHRC guidelines.

EU students who have not lived in the UK for three years prior to the award are currently only eligible for full EU fees at RCUK rates, and no maintenance grant. International fee status students are not eligible for this award.

Successful applicants normally will have achieved at least a 2:i or equivalent in an undergraduate degree and will be working towards or have completed a master’s qualification (or similar postgraduate qualification) with Distinction.

The maintenance rates for 2015/16 have not yet been announced by the AHRC, but for comparison, for 2014/15 maintenance for full time students is £15,863 (see here). The student will also be eligible for an extra £550 per year CDP allowance, in addition to (up to) £2,000 per year from the V&A and the University of Warwick to cover research and travel costs.

How to apply

To apply, please send your CV, a sample of writing and cover letter outlining your suitability for the project and detailing the ways in which you plan to address the themes above: to Giorgio Riello Your application should be accompanied by an email from your MA supervisor or other academic acquainted with your university career to be sent to the same address. The deadline for applications is Monday 11 May 2015.

Informal inquiries should be made to: Professor Giorgio Riello ( or Professor Lesley Miller (


Fri 13 Mar 2015, 12:31 | Tags: Postgraduate Funding