Monday, 25 June 2012
It looks as though I haven't given away my Winter 2011 spare copy of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. So I shall remedy that now. I was very engrossed by this edition because it contains a most fascinating article on the group of samplers that depict Solomon's Temple and I have friends in Germany who own perhaps the largest collection of Solomon's Temple samplers, which we talk about on and off, discussing various theories. Aimee Newell who wrote the excellent article could find no correlation between the stitchers of this large group and fathers who were Freemasons - a promising starting hypothesis.
It is true that at the time this group of samplers was worked - 1790- 1850 - there was great interest in Solomon's Temple and models of the Temple were made and toured for display. Equally, interest and models had existed before this period. But one factor seems to focus on the year of 1847, and that was the date predicted for the second coming of the Messiah. To this end, incredible and concerted efforts were made around the world to line up events to ensure the stage was set for this propitious happening. One element of this was the return to Jerusalem of the Jewish diaspora. It is astonishing the number and rank of people involved in this effort, involving amongst others members of the British Government and Brigham Young, founder of the Mormon faith. There is an earlier Needleprint post about one woman involved personally in this effort - Marianne Neville. So lots of interesting possible factors to consider here. Another ponderable is whether those 'crosses' appearing on the roof and gables of Solomon's Temple are lightning rods - a theory of my German friends - in which case they would predate the ones by Benjamin Franklin by a few millennia. If they were designed not to mitigate lightening strikes, but to draw down lightning from the heavens, imagine how miraculous that would have appeared at the time. And perhaps when we look at samplers from the early 1800s we might put ourselves in the place of stitchers who believed the time of The Second Coming was nigh - just how would that affect our slant on life, if it were us?
Posted by N E E D L E P R I N T at 19:01