Wednesday 29 February 2012

An Exciting Antiques Roadshow & An Exciting Needleprint Draw - The Winner is Announced

Thank you MJ for sending me the link to this exciting Antiques Roadshow from Pittsburgh. Right at the beginning there were 4 samplers that had been found interleaved in old newspaper.
Here is a close-up of the smaller three alphabet samplers.
And there is a fabulous large pictorial sampler at the back.
It is a progression of works stitched in 1823.
All worked by the same school-girl, Mary McNair.
Below you can see details of the larger sampler
which was probably worked in Chester County Pennsylvania.
So, how would you value these?
Well, the smallest alphabet sampler was valued at a few hundred dollars. The taller alphabet on the right was valued at $400-$500; the middle text at $1,000-$1,500 and the largest one at $10,000. Together as a rare set, the valuation for insurance was $15,000. Did he get it right? To see the clip yourself - click here. And before I forget, the winner of the SANQ draw is Kathy from Germany. Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who took part. There will be more to come, I promise you, so please don't despair.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Help Please * Spanish Translation

This magnificent Spanish sampler will be in the Micheal and Elizabeth Feller Collection Volume II. It has an inscription which we would like to check out - if there is a Spanish volunteer to help. The inscription reads either: lo hizo rosa ibanez discipula de maria valcedo en la enseña or discipula de maria valcedo en la enseña lo hizo rosa ibanez.
There is also the Christagram IHS on one side and on the other side the combined intials MA - does this MA signify Maria? (Mary) We shall be very grateful indeed for your help. Just click on the flying angel or leave a comment. Thank you very much.

Dreweatts Auction * 14 March * Donnington Priory near Newbury

There are some pretty samplers coming up for auction at Dreweatts Donnington Priory Salerooms in Newbury soon, here is just a selection for you to contemplate.
Lot 74 is a George II needlework sampler, by Elizabeth Lowe and dated 1739. It has alphabet and numbers, Biblical text and family names all worked with borders of trailing foliage and flower heads, set into an ebonised frame and glazed. It measures 35.5cm x 31.5cm overall (approx 14" x 12") and it comes with an estimate of £500 - £800.
Lot 75 is a William IV sampler, by Sarah Squire dated 1833. I has a charming double-fronted house flanked by railings, all surrounded by baskets of fruit, flowers, birds and animals. It is framed and glazed and measures 57cm x 42cm overall (approx 23" x 17". It comes with an estimate of £400 - £600.
Lot 76 is a rather splendid Regency pattern darning sampler, dated 1811, with central foliate spray surrounded by geometric stellar motifs and various sets of initials. Framed and glazed, it measures 51cm x 48cm overall (approx 20" x 19"). It comes with an estimate of £200 - £300.
Lot 73 is a William IV sampler, by Mary Callis dated 1833. It is decorated with the Sun above a floral arangement and Biblical text, a house and garden portrayed below and urns of flowers to either side, all within a border of further trailing foliate work. It is framed and glazed and measures 56cm x 44cm overall (approx 22" x 18") and it comes with an estimate of £500 - £800. For more sale details, click here. Remember you need to register in advance if you want to bid.

Monday 27 February 2012

Nathanial Lloyd Samplers from Great Dixter

It is a little sad that the only record of Nathanial Lloyd's collection of samplers is to be found in these old black and white photographs at English Heritage.
There are some very interesting continental European samplers recorded which you can see here, as well as English examples.
This long sampler has a very interesting interior depicted on its base - amongst all the other fabulous images!
These pattern darning samplers are very typical of the Netherlands - as well as Quaker schools in the UK.
The designs on this sampler were in pattern books some 125 years prior to the stitching of this sampler, showing their persistance and continued popularity. Such motifs can only give you a not-before date for dating samplers as opposed to a not-after date.
Nathaniel Lloyd (1867-1933) founded a firm of lithographic printers. In his middle age he studied architecture under Sir Edwin Lutyens, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1931. And it is at this point I became very interested in him since I am a great lover of vernacular English architecture and he wrote some delightful books. A History of the English House (1931), and A History of English Brickwork (1934) are my favourites. He is perhaps better known for the house he bought at Great Dixter, in East Sussex, a large timber framed manor house of circa 1460, which passed to his son Christopher who was a famous and adventurous gardener. You can vist Great Dixter and I do recommend it to you, it is the epitome of Englishness. To see all the sampler images, click here.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Eye to Eyck - See The Fabulous Ghent Altarpiece Up Close

Thanks to a grant from the Getty Foundation you can now see intricate, breathtaking details of one of the most important works of art in the world, thanks to a newly completed website focused on the Ghent Altarpiece. A stunning and highly complex painting composed of separate oak panels, The Mystic Lamb of 1432 by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, known as the Ghent Altarpiece, recently underwent much-needed emergency conservation within the Villa Chapel in St. Bavo Cathedral in Ghent. As part of this work, the altarpiece was removed from its glass enclosure and temporarily dismantled—a rare event which also made it possible to undertake a comprehensive examination and documentation, supported by the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles. Each centimeter of the altarpiece was scrutinized and professionally photographed at extremely high resolution in both regular and infrared light. The photographs were then digitally “stitched” together to create highly detailed images which allow for study of the painting at unprecedented microscopic levels. The website itself contains 100 billion pixels. Led by Ron Spronk, a Professor of Art History at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, the website is a collaborative project of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK/IRPA), Lukasweb, and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, and is funded through support from the Getty Foundation and with support from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, or NWO). Spronk says, We deliberately chose an open-source approach to the images, with the hope that it will spur more projects using interactive, high-resolution imaging techniques for the technical study of works of art.”
Because this is huge, it is not lightening fast, but it will make you gasp! Click here to get up close to Van Eyck.

Saturday 25 February 2012

All the French Books are Sold Out - Sorry!

Thursday 23 February 2012

Charlotte Bronte's Sampler - Just £7.50 on eBay!

Is this the find of the century? Stitched by Charlotte's own hands? What do you think? This creation of replica samplers is something of a moot point which crops up from time to time. Antique dealers really don't like it, because these works twenty or thirty years on - or maybe even more-  may, so the dealers say, confuse the market. I know many stitchers who, upon completion of a replica sampler dutifully work their own name and date of finishing below the border. I was always intrigued why a seasoned dealer couldn't tell the difference anyway, but then was reminded that many auction houses can't afford experts in every field to evaluate the items sent in for sale. Certainly when I have seen the odd sampler being photographed the wrong way up for sales catalogues, I can see their problem. Naomi Tarrant, in an all party discussion we had on this topic at Ackworth, was even more concerned about the historical record becoming confused, when people create and stitch new samplers and simply add the name of a girl who lived (and who may never have stitched a sampler herself.) What are your thoughts on this - do you have any - is it important to you? Click here to go to the eBay item. It turns out it is a print of a replica sampler on thick paper!

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Inside the Home of England's Best Loved Sampler Dealer Erna Hiscock

Erna was a regular supporter of Ackworth events and everyone adored the sampler collection she would bring to show. We all love Erna the person too and the support she gives to the hospice movement by regularly opening her home for sampler get-togethers. I have had many happy and fun moments with her. So, it is a delight to share with you something of Erna which is in the current issue of English Homes. Like us she lives in what I like to call a Hobbit House with low beams and homely nooks and crannies. However, her walls are covered with delicious little samplers, as you can imagine. Below you might spot a couple of Bristol Orphanage samplers if you look closely.
Do look out for the magazine if you don't know it, it is very pretty. And do, do visit Erna's website to see more of her samplers - you will be delighted. Click here to pay a call and say Hello.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Free Jigsaw Download and Giveaway!

Two good things rolled into one today! There is a free draw for the latest Spring 2012 copy of Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly. All you have to do is click on the flying angel below to enter the draw. The lucky winner of this superb magazine (which is why I always buy two copies - one for me and one to share) will be announced on Leap Day - 29 February 2012. And this beautiful cover is also your free jigsaw download. I hope you enjoy your free jigsaw download today. Good luck and have fun. However, sadly, this is not going to work for Mac users. Instructions: Click here next Click Open, then click the .EXE file name and click Run, when you see the jigsaw puzzle, click Play Too many pieces? Try clicking on Trays on the top tool bar to create any number of resizeable trays to sort your pieces ........ you can also click the Cheat button and watch the puzzle solve itself! The software is by David Gray designer of Jigsaws Galore - the powerful jigsaw player and creator for Windows.

Saturday 18 February 2012

The Stuff That Matters * Textiles Collected by Seth Siegelaub * 1 March- 6 May 2012 * London

Raven Row presents the first exhibition of the collection of historic textiles assembled by Seth Siegelaub over the past thirty years for the Center for Social Research on Old Textiles (CSROT). The exhibition will feature over 200 items from a collection currently comprising around 650. It will include woven and printed textiles, embroideries and costume, ranging from fifth-century Coptic to Pre-Columbian Peruvian textiles, late medieval Asian and Islamic textiles, and Renaissance to eighteenth-century European silks and velvets. Barkcloth (tapa) and headdresses from the Pacific region (especially Papua New Guinea) and Africa will also be on display.

Textiles in the exhibition will be shown next to excerpts from relevant texts and historic books drawn from the CSROT Library, which shed light on their technological, social and political context and stress how Siegelaub’s bibliographic project underpins the collection of textiles. The history of the buildings housing Raven Row, which in the eighteenth century accommodated two shops selling silk woven in the Spitalfields district, will be addressed in one of the galleries. Decrees and laws shown alongside a selection of banned European silks from the era will reveal how the end of a sixty-year embargo on foreign-spun silks in 1824 led to the collapse of the Spitalfields silk industry.

The exhibition is curated by Sara Martinetti, Alice Motard and Alex Sainsbury, and is designed by 6a architects. The accompanying publication will contain a survey of the rise and fall of the silk industry in Spitalfields, an interview with Seth Siegelaub and an essay on his bibliographic practice as well as a chronology retracing his manifold activities.

The exhibition is at Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS and is open Wed - Sat 11am - 6pm. For more details contact:
T +44 (0)20 7377 4300

Friday 17 February 2012

Another Mystery - Can You Help With Some Danish Translation?

This stunning Danish sampler along with about 300 others will be in Volume II of the Micheál and Elizabeth Feller Collection. We would like to translate the text that runs across the top. It is made more difficult by the fact that some of the stitching is faded. I think it reads: Frygt gud hav sandhed kier elsk din naeste hvem han er er han fattig gud er kiend dig selv gud hielper dig. Just click on the image below for a larger image to help you. Now we have a translation - thank you Marianne!

Thursday 16 February 2012

Can You Help Solve This Mystery?

I was recently asked for help, to see if I could shed any light on this coverlet. The owner tells me that it has been in the family for several generations. It was found in a family steamer trunk. It is a folkart coverlet crafted from woolen fabric and backed with cotton. The coverlet is embellished with various designs.
She is trying to establish some historical reference regarding this style of coverlet. The embellishment has raised her curiosity. She asks if this is a map?
I am afraid I have been unable to help in this instance, but perhaps you might know something that could help. Please let us know.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

The Lyon Textile Industry * Built Like A Tree, Flows Like A River * Barry Flanagan and Karsten Schubert

Photo: Courtesy of Karsten Schubert and Richard Saltoun.
Barry Flanagan's Built like a tree, flows like a river strongly references the Lyon textile industry through Flanagan’s use of 100kg of local multicoloured fabric. The catalogue tells us that Lyon flourished due to its trading connections with Italy, and garnered a reputation as an important centre for producing silk and other textiles. The industry thrived for several centuries, but declined when modern manufacturing methods took hold. Flanagan considered the local sourcing of materials crucial to the making of the work. At the centre of the strands of fabric, Flanagan added a granite boulder on which he painted a miniature representation of the entire piece, providing both a diagrammatic rendering of the work and an installation map. The 100 kilos of printed and plain cotton woven together to make the meanders and ox-bows of the rivers Rhône and Saône were purchased from textile warehouses in Oullins, where there are huge quantities of packaged textile waste that the industry has no idea what to do with!

Linda Stitches the Entire Vierlande II Library of Motifs

Linda has just knocked me over with her stitching of the entire Vierlande II Library of Motifs. This library together with 11 mini samplers was intended more of a motif repertoire for picking and mixing, rather than being an entire sampler. But Linda had definite ideas what she intended to do. She says: It was a pleasure to stitch, and not quite as large as the Battle of Grunwald as featured on your site on 5 Feb! Astonishing work, Linda. Oh, yes, I promised Linda to tell you that there is a Stitchalong for this piece - just click here for more details.

Download this first library of rich motifs from the special Vierlande region of North Germany.

Download the second volume of the Vierlande motif library. It comes with a separate eBook containing 11 additional mini-Vierlande sampler projects for you.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Sew Happy Valentine!

In the Company of Friends has produced this wonderful Valentine necessaire which is heart-formed and rather saucily laces down the back, so you have to unlace it to find all the delicious sewing pieces inside.
Here you can see the heart laid open and all its secrets revealed. I am just sew happy! And I hope you are too. To see more wonderful and inspiring gift ideas like this, just click here.

Monday 13 February 2012

Rebecca Campeau and Modern Stumpwork on a Gargantuan Scale

Rebecca Campeau, a Parisian based sculptor in textiles with a shop window at 6, rue du Buisson St Louis 75010 Paris, has been working at this multidiscipline craft for near 30 years. The question I have often asked myself when looking at Stuart stumpwork is: were those representations deliberately naive? What are your thoughts?