Tuesday 6 October 2015

Antique Samplers in the Victoria and Albert museum .... inspiration!

Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

Following on from yesterdays blog about designing your own antique sampler and because of the interest that I have had via my messages, I thought I would show you some beauties from the V & A collection for you to look at and to get some ideas...

  • Jane Bostock, England, 1598. in the V & A this
    is the earliest they have in their collection and it is stunning ...  you can see there are different designs and techniques in this sampler and it was more than likely a learning piece.  I think this is beautiful and the history attached to this piece from 1598 is just amazing.
This is from Queen Elizabeth I reign so that puts so much history into this piece.  The clothes that Jane Bostock would have worn and the era in which she lived......

The tiny stitches that have gone into this piece it all fascinates me and the ideas that you can get from this rare stitched piece.

Then there is this piece from earliest samplers and were reference works for embroiderers. They showed copies of patterns and stitches and recorded how to achieve particular effects. In Europe in the 17th century samplers provided instruction and practice for girls learning needlework. In The Netherlands, needleworkers made elaborate darning samplers to show off their darning skills in the later 1700s. These samplers may have been the source for English darning samplers. However the samplers from the Netherlands are more usually signed and dated than the English ones. The inscription on this sampler reads:' Made by me Maria Praag under the instruction of Sara de Troi widow Ooms finished the 12 May in the year 1803'.

Embroiderers made more and more use of picture decoration. By about 1750, the house and garden had become, and remained, a favourite choice of subject. Here the needleworker has combined it with alphabets and a moral verse as well as her name and the date it was completed.  This one however by Elizabeth Brain in 1785 says to me she was fairly well to do because of the house and the deer present.  Not something I suspect that a child of the day in a normal household would be stitching.....

The needle and thread was the earlier pen and paper and it has over the years given us an insight into the life of our ancestors.  The needlework and the tiny stitches have served as diaries and photographs so they are a great source of history and to me beauty.  If this has not fired you all up to make your own piece of history I am not sure what would......  I hope you have had an enjoyable time  looking at these and please keep your messages coming... I feel a workshop coming on!

Have a great day and Happy Stitching!!

Chris B's modern sampler ..... 

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