Tuesday 5 October 2010

Souvenir de Ma Jeunesse

These long albums of schoolgirl stitching exercises called rather romantically Souvenir de Ma Jeunesse in French, or more practically Pronkerolle in Dutch are something of a rarity in the the UK, where these exercises would have been fixed into something more book-like resembling a school book or album. The one we see here, however, does not have the neat coherence of some of the Souvenirs de Ma Jeunesse and is a more haphazard display. Nonetheless, visible are darning exercises, patching, knitting and a colourful sampler. Bonhams, Oxford where this item is to be auctioned tomorrow (Lot 374 Estimate £100-£120) does not mention a country of origin.

The following pair of samplers for auction at Bonhams, Bury St Edmunds on 28 October (Lot 614 Estimate £300-£500) stitched by Freeman girls some 43 years apart suggests the earlier sampler was passed down through two generations of the female line - from great aunt to great niece. It is also a nice early record of a pre-board female school in Haverhill, Suffolk, teaching free form stitching rather like the Norwich schools. Mary was born about 1765 and would have been around 19 when she stitched this sampler, the later age being in line with some of the older students of Judith Hayle.
Sophia Freeman, though she stitches some pretty free rosebuds, has produced a much simpler sampler. Sophia was born about 3 miles away from Haverhill in Shudy Camps on 23 Feb 1817 to Henry Freeman and his wife Charlotte.

1 comment:

  1. perhaps Sophia was familiar with the K.I.S.S. principle?