Monday, 6 September 2010
Mary Ann Odem's sampler of 1812 has a very precise, architectural view of a London church. Not St Paul's Cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren, although the elaborate dome, paired towers and baroque buttresses have points in common with that building, but St Paul's Church in Covent Garden, where tourists gather today to watch acrobats peform. Known as the Actors' Church, I am sad to say, it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the one on Mary Ann's sampler. So much for my theory of samplers being useful historical documents.
As you can see from this recent photo of St Paul's Covent Garden, the church is designed along more classical, austere and considerably less fanciful lines. Inigo Jones was the designer and the church was complete in 1633. So what is going on? I don't really know. Has Mary Ann's teacher confused the two chuches? But where are the colonnades that front St Paul's Cathedral - on the sampler there is a very visible single, albeit, large door and nothing more. St Paul's Covent Garden was burnt in 1795 just 17 years before Mary stitched her sampler. Many designs were put forward for its replacement; people were wanting something less austere. However, it was finally decided to rebuild the church according to its original design. Could this image then be one of the proposed projects for a new St Paul's Church, one which was never accomplished? Perhaps someone knows. This sampler is for auction at Brightwell's Auction on 8 September - it is Lot 679 with an estimate of £270-£350.
This pair of cross-stitched wall pockets of 1830 (does anyone know what they were used for?) are also for auction by Brightwell's, they are Lot number 678 and have an estimate of £40-£50.
Posted by N E E D L E P R I N T at 23:03