Beryl Dean

Beryl Dean was a leading exponent of modernist design in ecclesiastical embroidery; she introduced an entirely new approach to a field hitherto limited to a traditional Victorian style.  Her most notable works included five large panels for St George’s Chapel, Windsor, which were made between 1969 and 1974 and, in 1977, she designed the Silver Jubilee mitre, stole and cope for the Bishop of London.  The cope was particularly spectacular, depicting 73 London churches with St Paul’s rising up behind them, entirely embroidered in metal thread. The same year she completed the Dean and Canon’s cope for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Beryl Dean was born on August 2 1911 and studied embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework, where she worked with the stitchery experts Rebecca Crompton and Elizabeth Grace Thomson.  In 1935 Beryl Dean was awarded a Royal Exhibition to the Royal College of Art, after which she embarked on a career teaching various aspects of textile crafts, including millinery and dressmaking. She also designed for the ballet, and ran a small studio making costumes, dresses and hats.

Beryl Dean lectured at Eastbourne School of Art from 1939 until 1946, when she took a post as lecturer at King’s College, Newcastle upon Tyne. She became involved in the Needlework Development Scheme, set up to encourage embroidery, which had started to die out in schools.

In 1975 Beryl Dean was appointed MBE for services to embroidery for the church.