Friday, 4 January 2013

A Question of Standing * Needleworks From Horn @ The Westfries Museum Until 10 March 2013

A Question of Standing - Beautiful handworks from Horn 1750-1825 will on exhibition at the Westfries Museum until 23 March 2013. Horn and Enkhuizen are amongst my favourite places on the banks of the Markermeer - about 20 miles north of Amsterdam. They are steeped in history and their streets are lovely and not particularly well-known amongst tourists.

On display are 36 embroidered works from the period 1750-1825 all of which were created in Horn by the daughters of the upper and ruling, or Regent, classes. The sampler above is by Aafje Ver Loren, born 1744, the daughter of a prominent family of Hoorn.
And here you can see her magnificent portrait to commemorate her wedding day. The motifs and darning patterns on the samplers are unique to Horn and are not found elsewhere. The cloths are initialled and dated and from these clues researchers have been able to trace the makers and uncover their personal background and histories. Where they lived, the profession of their fathers even that of their husbands-to-be has been discovered. Even their families' political leanings!

Below is another young woman, her name is Jannetje Brons. She was born in 1779 and was the daughter of a mastersmith in gold and silver. She is wearing a very particular metal headdress called an Oorijzer to keep her cap in place.

Here you can see just how large these headdresses are and what they would have been like to wear is hard to imagine - but as they were often of expensive metals they signified wealth and status.
The basis of the exhibition comes from the collection of the Westfries museum, supplemented with pieces from various museums in Netherlands and beyond, and from private collections. In addition to the cloths are also costumes, various documents, horns, silverware and porcelain specifically pertaining to the families of the girls. Portraits of a few of the girls survive and can be seen. For more information, please contact Karin Wester (k.wester@wfm.nl) or click here to go to the web-site of the Museum.

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