Watts was founded in the same era that the Royal School of Needlework began and that women throughout the UK were developing increasingly structured and detailed approaches to stitching and embroidery.
In addition to manuals on needlecraft and illustrated records of medieval needlework, architects such as A. W. N. Pugin and G. E. Street promoted the revival of this key element of Gothic aesthetics and theological textiles. Moreover, in addition to its own on-site embroiderers and embroidery school, the architects associated with Watts & Co worked with several British convent communities.
These Anglican nuns, established from the mid-nineteenth century in the wake of the Oxford Movement’s revivification of the Church of England’s pre-Reformation traditions, ran workrooms and taught students. Thus, alongside those in the Watts & Co workroom, convents also contributed to a growing and invaluable revival of ecclesiastical embroidery techniques on a scale unseen since the Middle Ages. Designs produced and hand-sewn at Watts & Co were objects of the highest quality that had ever been achieved in the art.