Friday, 9 October 2009

The Riddle of Solomon's Temple

Many of us are well-acquainted with the small architectural feature known as Solomon's Porch on samplers. And maybe some of us are aware of this larger representation of Solomon's Temple which appears to be based on the engraving below. The tedious task of detailing all the bricks and windows must have been an exercise in great patience and discipline. There are a number of these Solomon's Temples in existence stitched in England between the 1780s and 1830s. Here, from the collection of Rudolf and Gisela Creutzburg, you can see Catherine Pettit's Solomon's Temple stitched in 1798 when she was 10 years' old and Elizabeth Mothersole's close version stitched when she was 18 years old in 1803. Did they have the same teacher? Were they affiliated to the same religious or, perhaps, masonic group? Both girls came from East Anglia, though other versions are stitched by girls in many other locations. The question to be asked is, was there a particular discovery, movement or event which gave rise to these samplers? Certainly this period saw a great increase in the number of churches built, though much of that impetus followed the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 with the building of 600 Waterloo Churches. Maybe you know and can tell us?

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