Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Emma Henriette Schiff-Suvero Collection

Emma Henriette Reitzes was born in 1873 to a well-to-do family in Vienna. She married into the banking family of Schiff von Suvero, Jewish aristocrats. After World War I, the Austrian Government decreed that the aristocratic von was to be dropped and so Emma and her husband, Paul, became simply Schiff-Suvero. A son, Edgar was born around 1903 but aged 25, he died four years after his father in 1928. Emma herself died in January 1939 and the estate of the Schiff-Suvero passed to a nephew - Erwin Reitzes Marienwert. These were not auspicious times. The Austrian Anschluss or annexation by Germany had occurred in March 1938 and all Jewish property had to be registered with local authorities and was subjected to heavy taxes. Property was also banned from export. Amongst the items once belonging to Emma and Paul were 180 spectacular textile objects including a number of early English samplers. The nephew, having left Austria for Switzerland for reasons of health in May 1938, unable to export his aunt's collection and desiring its safe keeping, sold it to the Staatliche Kunstgewerbemuseum in Vienna for RM15,400 where it was stored for the duration. In 2003, following restitution of the collection by the Austrian Government to the family heirs, this fine collection was sold again at Christies in November 2003. The lovely sampler you see on the cover and inside The Perpetually Engaging Diary comes from the Emma Henriette Schiff-Suvero Collection, having miraculously survived 2 World Wars. If you are a stitching group or guild then you can purchase copies for your members at a special guild price, just click here to email me.


  1. Jacqueline,

    This is a stunning Sampler!! Even more stunning than the Ann Hair sampler reproduced by Scarlet Letter. That's already in my stash, but I could always use another. :) Is this sampler being reproduced?


  2. Jacqueline, I also think this sampler is gorgeous! I, too, would like to see it reproduced, it's stunning and I'd love to stitch it. The history is behind it is just wonderful.