Caption: About Us spalash header.

About us

The School of Textiles promotes the further understanding and exploration of world textiles and related art and design, through inspirational learning.
Caption: Henri Rault & Cie, 1932, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Henri Rault & Cie, 1932, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Co-founder Mary Schoeser has worked at the School on a volunteer basis since 2017. The School’s study centre otherwise offers recompense to other professionals who provide a varied range of education events and practical courses. Assisted by Administrative Officer, Diane Mackay, and Advisor, Peter Kohn, Mary is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with others who are equally engaged with textiles and looking to expand their creative audience.


Our growing private collection of textiles, paper designs, ledgers, historical dress and accessories spans over 400 years, dating from the mid-sixteenth century to today. We hold the Keith H. Robson Collection and the Marianne Straub Teaching Collection.These objects support our workshops, events and study days, and are also available by appointment for individuals, as well as for commercial research.


With a library of some 5,000 publications and project documents, our resources include notes and cuttings concerning historic house projects, archival consultancy and publications by Mary Schoeser. We aim to offer varied and comprehensive research and study opportunities for individuals or as part of our study days. Photocopying (5 pence per page) and scanning facilities are available. Access is by appointment.

Caption: Library resources.



Mary Schoeser is an internationally respected textile and wallpaper historian who has published and curated widely. She has collaborated with many museums over her 40 year career, including the Fashion Textile Museum, London; the V&A – where she is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow – and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As an historic textiles advisor she has worked with English Heritage, the National Trust and private house owners, and as a consultant archivist, with organisations such as Laura Ashley, Sanderson and the John Lewis Partnership.

“My life-long interest in design and textiles has been sustained by access to a wonderfully diverse range of people and things. These range from the most creative of textile designers and artists to the fascinating sample books and other records to be found within companies and archives across the UK and elsewhere.

Because much that I’ve learned has been through the generosity of others, the School for me is an opportunity to return these favours by sharing the insights I’ve gathered over the years.

I’ve been lucky enough to apply my knowledge as a writer, broadcaster, and consultant archivist and historic interiors advisor. So – with the input of invited speakers, workshop leaders and volunteers, our events reflect this breadth of activity.

Caption: Mary Schoeser giving a lecture.

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Banner image: English handwoven silk cut- and uncut velvet c.1880.
All images unless otherwise attributed are courtesy of and copyright the School of Textiles.

© 2023 Mary Schoeser | School of Textiles, The Old Chapel, 33 Church Street, Coggeshall CO6 1TX

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