Sunday 30 September 2012

Erna Hiscock Samplers

One of the best loved sampler dealers in the UK is Erna Hiscock of Hiscock Antiques. Not only does she deserve our respect for volunteering to conserve the Chawton House Library sampler we featured a little while ago for free but she has always delighted and impressed customers at the Ackworth School gatherings with her well chosen pieces and sympathetic understanding of the girls who worked these samplers. Here is just a small taste of what you can find with Erna - to see more click here. The sampler above dated twice 1701 and 1706 by Johanna Wright is a most interesting piece. It defies the traditional story-telling that would have samplers worked as a progressive exercise in needlework - starting off with simple stitches and techniques and developing greater and greater skill with the intricate elements of needle wrought lace whitework being the last elements to be worked. Here you can see a fully worked whitework sampler with the polychrome silk work still awaiting final finish and embellishment. It measures just under 9" by 13".

Above is a fine, late 18th Century Dutch sampler, decorated with numerous spot motifs including a central house, large dog and pair of rabbits. In the top right corner are Arms of the City of Amsterdam.

This sampler is one of my favourites at the moment. Worked by Susanna Mann Howe, it is dated November 30 1785.

Particularly pretty is that panel of idyllic English rural life.

Which recalls this sampler, stitched by Eliza D - one of a now emerging group of samplers that can be placed at Mrs Ventham's School, Winton (the old name for Winchester). Here is another school ripe for research!

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