Saturday 7 November 2009

Sources for Tulips

I have a great love for the tulips which figure at the top of this Goodhart sampler (G82). They led me to another sampler in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (T15-1952) and allowed me to posit an identity, Mary Basham, for the maker of the Goodhart sampler. It is always a wonderful moment, as some you may have experienced for yourselves, when some seemingly small clue allows you to 'return' a sampler or other artifact to its maker. There are a number of sources for the tulip on Mary's sampler stitched in 1778, but there is something about this one of 1730 - the subscribers' page from Robert Furber's Twelve Months of Flowers - which caught my eye. Possibly it is simply a deception of the tulips' placement at the top corners of a border framing a rectangular centrepiece, for no other florals are matched. Robert Furber was 'Gardiner' at Kensington and the illustrations in his catalogue were painted by Antwerp artist Pieter Casteels, and be inspiration to the Dutch-born still-life paintings Jacob van Huysums.

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