Reminder to visit the Baltimore Museum of Art’s outstanding exhibition entitled Lessons Learned: American Schoolgirl Embroideries. On display is a diverse array of schoolgirl needlework from Maryland and other Eastern seaboard states - samplers and needlework pictures with moralistic verses, landscapes, tributes to national heroes, as well as literary and biblical scenes. Among the spectacular silk on silk embroideries is an elaborate 1819 work depicting the exuberant interior of King Solomon's palace and the imperial trappings of the Queen of Sheba's entourage in silk, metallic threads, sequins, and glass gems. Additional highlights within the more than 20 objects selected by curator Anita Jones from the museum’s collection are: (a) a 1740 Newport Rhode Island band sampler by Mary Taylor; (b) an 1816 “fruit and flower” sampler by Susanna Holland stitched under the instruction of Ann Barclay Cloud; (c) a c. 1828 Virginia sampler with boating scene and stunning border by Lilias Blair McPhail; (d) an 1827 needlework picture of St. Joseph’s academy in Emmitsburg, MD, and (e) the well-known 1859 woolwork picture of Daniel and the Lions by Baltimore’s Samaria Gaines. The exhibition opened November 23, 2014 and will continue through May 2015.
Announcement for an exhibition of Pennsylvania German folk art at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware which opened March 1, 2015 and continues through January 3, 2016. Curated by Lisa Minardi, the exhibition showcases the unique world of the Pennsylvania Germans and their colorful folk art, including decorated manuscripts (fraktur), textiles, and pottery, furniture, metalwork, and pottery. Embellished with hearts, flowers, birds, and other traditional motifs, these objects reveal a love of color, design, and whimsy. Most are functional, but others were made “just for nice” and attest to the Pennsylvania Germans’ penchant for decorating virtually everything—from a tiny pincushion to the side of a barn. Among the textiles in the exhibition are five girlhood samplers, four decorated hand towels, an embroidered tablecloth, a wedding apron, and a handkerchief. Also on display are a needlework pocket, some pincushions, and a needle case. Of special note are the decorated hand towels – often referred to as “show towels”. Beautifully embroidered, these long, narrow pieces have loops at the top corners and were hung on a door for display. Most were made between 1800 and 1880 by Mennonite and Schwenkfelder women in the PA counties of Lancaster, Lebanon, Berks, and Montgomery. Objects in the exhibition are drawn from Winterthur’s permanent collection, which now includes the fraktur and textile collection of the late Pastor Frederick S. Weiser, a legendary scholar and collector of Pennsylvania German folk art. Accompanying the exhibition is a 64-page full color catalog, which can also be purchased online. A free sample of the catalog can be downloaded.
Beginning April 15, 2015 the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts in Cedarburg, WI is hosting an exhibition that celebrates all manner of embroidery across time - from early 19th century to the present day. Curated by Brenda Nemetz, the exhibition includes five antique samplers – at least two of which were stitched in Wisconsin: (a) a cross-stitch sampler stitched by an unknown girl from Waukesha WI in 1863 and (b) and a sampler stitched by Martha Duffy of Hartford, WI in 1868. The earliest sampler in the exhibition was stitched by Charlotte Hall in 1816 at the age of 8. In addition there are 26 modern samplers in the exhibition, completed by members of the Badger Chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America. On April 25, the museum will host a 1:00 pm lecture by Valerie Davis entitled “History of Schoolgirl Samplers.” Valerie Davis is the Honorary Curator of Textiles and Clothing at the Milwaukee Public Museum where she curated an exhibition entitled The A, B, C's of Schoolgirl Samplers: Girls' Education and Needlework From a Bygone Era, which can be seen online at the library’s website. An Opening Reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Sunday, April 19, from noon until 3 p.m. The exhibition will continue until July 12, 2015.
Announcing a one-day sampler exhibition, sale, and lecture at the Talbot County Historical Society in Easton, MD on Saturday, May 2, 2015. The exhibition (10:30 am - 4:00 pm) will showcase over 40 highly detailed schoolgirl samplers, each providing a snapshot into the daily lives of 18th and 19th century girls and women. Samplers in the exhibition are from the historical society's collection and many have never before been seen by the public. In addition to samplers, related needlework objects will be on display, including an early Irish stitch pincushion initialed ER 1732. Noted sampler experts Barbara Hutson and Cynthia Steinhoff will be on hand to share their expertise, and at 11:00 am will provide a presentation on recognizing and studying historic samplers. A sale of antique samplers donated by members of the Talbot County Historical Society will begin at noon and go through 4:00 pm, with profits used to support the organization's community outreach and programming. The exhibition, lecture, and sale are free to the public. (Note: Details in this summary may not match what is on the Talbot County Historical Society's website as there have been some recent changes. A flyer with updated times and costs has been posted on their Facebook page and are the details included here.)
Announcing a one-day sampler exhibition hosted by the Cumberland County Historical Society in Greenwich, NJ on May 16, 2015, noon to 5:00 pm. Entitled "The Threads That Bind Us," the exhibition will highlight local schoolgirl needlework stitched from 1762 to 1860. On display will be two Cumberland County samplers recently returned from being in the Morven Museum's exhibition "Hail Specimen of Female Art: New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860, where they joined other samplers from a recognized group known as the "compartmented samplers of Cumberland." Also on display will be other samplers from area museums and private collections. At 2:00 pm Dan and Marty Campanelli will provide a lecture on early female education in New Jersey entitled "So Education Forms the Mind" in the Loomis Library. Cost to attend is $20 and includes access to the exhibition, an exhibition catalog, the Campanelli's lecture, and a light lunch. All proceeds will be used for sampler conservation and restoration. Advanced registration is required and contact info is posted on the website.
Announcing the third annual Penn Dry Goods antique show, sale, and lecture series on May 15 & 16, 2015 at the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center in Pennsburg, PA. Historic textiles and other dry goods will be for sale from more than 20 vendors. Sampler related lectures include: (a) "Good, Better, Best: An Introduction to Sampler Connoisseurship" by Amy Finkel; (b) Westtwon Samplers by Mary Brooks, (c) "Threads of Time: Needlework and Quilts of Aging Women, 1820-1860" by Aimee Newell; and (d) "A Morass of Berlin Wool Work" by Candace Perry. There are also two textile exhibits, one on patchwork pillowcases and one on textiles with text. Advanced registration available online.
The Sampler Consortium announces of a free, full-day workshop on March 28, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm at the University of Rhode Island. Conducted by Dr. Lynne Anderson, Director of the Sampler Archive Project, the workshop will provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to document the physical characteristics of schoolgirl samplers for future inclusion in the Sampler Archive - an online database of American samplers. The March 28 workshop is the first event sponsored by the Rhode Island Sampler Initiative, a collaborative effort of (a) the Sampler Archive Project, (b) the 1200 member Sampler Consortium, and (c) the University of Rhode Island's Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Design, as well as museums and historical societies across the state. Directed by Dr. Blaire Gagnon at the University of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Sampler Initiative will endeavor to locate, photograph, and document all American samplers and related pictorial embroideries in RI's public and private collections. Although the workshop is free, advanced registration is required as space is limited. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch will be provided.
Lecture March 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm by Dan and Marty Campanelli entitled "So Education Forms the Mind" at the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ. The presentation will feature beautiful examples of schoolgirl embroidery and explore the vast range of schooling available to “Jersey girls”—from independent instructresses in rural areas to prestigious academies in larger towns. In addition to well-known schools and instructors, the Campanellis will reveal newly discovered NJ preceptresses. An accompanying book listing NJ schools and teachers can be purchased at the museum. Reservations required as space is limited. This is the last lecture in a series that has accompanied the groundbreaking exhibition at the Morven Museum entitled "Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860" (October 3, 2014 - March 29, 2015).
Announcing two sampler lectures at the Morven Museum in Princeton, New Jersey in March 2015. The first is by Amy Finkel on March 19 entitled "Friend or Faux: Common Pitfalls and Misrepresentations in the World of Antique Samplers". She will discuss and provide examples of ways in which samplers are commonly misrepresented in the marketplace, including examples of alterations such as recoloring and restitching, She will provide advice on differentiating English and American samplers, an issue that impacts both rarity and value. On March 26 Dan and Marty Campanelli will explore the vast range of schooling available to "Jersey girls"-from independent instructresses in rural areas to prestigious academies in larger towns in a talk entitled So Education Forms the Mind. They will highlight well-known New Jersey needlework teachers and reveal some newly discovered preceptresses. The talk is a companion to the couple's recently released source book detailing female educators and schools in New Jersey from the 1600s to 1860. Both lectures require advanced registration.
Announcing an exhibition of 19th century schoolgirl art (March 1 - June 21, 2015) at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, New York. Guest curated by William and Sally Gemmill, the exhibition is a rare opportunity to view superb girlhood needlework and watercolors from an important private collection. There are twelve pieces in the exhibition, including a mourning embroidery by Abigail Walker, part of Bartow-Pell's permanent collection. Alss on display are family registers, historical scenes, allegories, maps, heraldry, and grisaille compositions based on 19th century engravings. The Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum is a 19th-century Greek Revival historic house owned by the city of New York. William and Sally Gemmill are collectors and independent researchers of American schoolgirl art during the first quarter of the 19th century, focusing primarily on the academies of New England and the mid-Atlantic. They are the authors of a recently published article in Antiques and Fine Arts magazine on their discovery of the Charlestown Academy as the source of several previously unidentified silk embroideries.
The Textile Society of America is sponsoring an all day event on April 18, 2015 at the Winterthur Museum. The day will begin with a curator-led tour of the exhibition “The Diligent Needle: Instrument of Profit, Pleasure, and Ornament”. The exhibition traces the evolution of the role of embroidery in women’s lives from the 17th through 19th century, at all levels, from schoolgirls to skilled amateur needlewomen to professional embroiderers. Following a luncheon the group will go behind the scenes for close examination of more examples of needlework from Winterthur’s superb collection, including recent acquisitions such as Mary Flower’s embroidered table cover dated 1767 and Mary DeSilver’s embroidered verse sampler made at the “Negro School” in Philadelphia in 1793. Registration is required and closes on April 7.
Announcement of January 29, 2015 noon lecture by Linda Eaton entitled “The Material Culture of Needlework.” Linda Eaton is the John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles at Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Using examples of women’s needlework from the collections of Winterthur, as well as New Jersey samplers in the ongoing sampler exhibition at the Morven Museum, she will show how the study of needlework can enrich the understanding of women’s lives in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Reservations are required and the cost is $45, which includes lunch. Registration is available online. Both lunch and lecture will take place at The Present Day Club, 72 Stockton Street, across the street from the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ. Linda Eaton’s lecture is one of several scheduled to accompany the museum’s sampler exhibition “Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860”. Additional upcoming events include lectures by Amy Finkel (Feb. 17); Bill Subjack (Feb. 22); Patricia Hrynenko (March 1); and Dan and Marty Campanelli (March 26).
Blog post by Vivien Caughley and Tessa Smallwood (December 5, 2014) for the Auckland War Memorial Museum website. While researching her new book “New Zealand’s Historical Samplers: Our Stitched Stories” (2014), Vivien Caughley uncovered a 1784 English embroidered map sampler by Martha Gibbons that depicts the cartography of the New World, the tracks of Captain James Cook’s Endeavour through the Pacific, and contains the earliest-known stitched record of the Māori language, Te Reo. In addition to naming New Zealand and its four capes, the map includes the Maori names for the country’s two islands. The blog post describes the 2010 discovery of Gibbons’ map, as well as its extensive conservation and generous donation by its U.S. owner to the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Article in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Dec. 12, 2014) by Inga Saffron about Winterthur’s acquisition of a rare 18th century sampler stitched in 1793 by an African-American girl. The daughter of a free black family living in Philadelphia, Mary D'Silver was eight years old when she stitched her small verse sampler at the Bray Associates Negro School, founded by English abolitionist Dr. Thomas Bray with the assistance of Benjamin Franklin (For more information on the school see http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600521.html). Although only about 8 inches square, Mary’s sampler includes a stanza written by abolitionist Anna Laetitia Akin Barbauld, extracted from an allegorical poem entitled “The Mouse's Petition” in which a mouse begs its captor for freedom. Mary’s sampler is one of three Winterthur samplers by African American students and curator Linda Eaton plans to hang all three in the museum’s textile gallery. The sampler was sold to Winterthur by Amy Finkel, well-known sampler dealer in Philadelphia who researched its background. Article includes photographs of the sampler.
Announcement by Sotheby’s New York auction house of their upcoming auction of important Americana and decorative arts January 23, 2015. Collected by Roy and Ruth Nutt, the auction has a total of 293 lots, of which approximately 30 will be of interest to collectors of samplers and related girlhood embroideries. Included are ten American samplers that either name or are attributed to well-known schools for young women, including the Lydia Royce school and the Misses Patten school in Hartford, CT; the Mary Balch School in Providence, RI; the Ralston school in Lehigh Valley, PA; and the Sarah Pierce school in Litchfield, CT. At least 8 objects have a Massachusetts origin, ranging in date from the 1750s to 1825. In addition, there are samplers from Ohio, RI, PA, NH, and NJ. Also included are five lots of English needlework, three from the late 17th century. Lot 281 is a group of books related to needlework and textiles (about 110 volumes). The samplers and related girlhood embroideries will be on exhibit at Sotheby’s auction house for six days prior to the January 23rd auction (January 17-22). Online catalog available.
Article in the New York Times (Jan. 2, 2015) by Tammy La Gorce about the exhibition of 151 samplers and related girlhood embroideries entitled "Hail Specimen of Female Art! New Jersey Schoolgirl Needlework, 1726-1860" at the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ (ending March 29, 2015). The article discusses the role of needlework in the education of girls' lives in early America and some of the unique characteristics appearing on samplers in the exhibition. As expressed by Elizabeth Allan, the museum's curator of collections and exhibitions, the samplers are proof that 18th- and 19th-century New Jersey girls "were active and creative and intelligent." Organized into five galleries, the exhibition has 151 samplers on display, arranged by geographic origin of the girls' families and their schools. Co-curators Dan and Marty Campanelli of Quakertown and Daniel Scheid of Princeton collaborated to produce an exhibition catalog that can be ordered at the museum's website.
Announcing spring textile symposium at Colonial Williamsburg March 15-17, 2015 entitled "Stitching Together a National Identity." The symposium will explore regional variations in American textiles of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries and the forces that molded them: geography, ethnic origins, trade & migration patterns, influential teachers and artists, and even climate. A number of Sampler Consortium members will be sharing their research on early samplers and needlework schools. These include symposium host Kim Ivey (Textiles of the Early South); Sheryl DeJong (Identifying needlework schools and teachers in Vermont); Lynne Anderson (Studying migration patterns of sampler motifs); Candace Perry (Needlework of the Yeakle family of Chestnut Hill, PA); Kathy Lesieur (Samplers from Pleasant Hill Boarding School); Susi Slocum (Delaware's "fruit and flower" samplers); Alee Robins (Investigating samplers from the E. Hurst School of western Virginia); and James Boswell (Samplers and science in Kentucky). Registration for the event is $295 and can be done online.
Stephen and Carol Huber are offering 20% savings for a select number of their samplers, silk embroideries, and other girlhood embroideries. Look for the red and white gift boxes sprinkled around their website - and take 20% off the listed price. On special for the holidays are 17 needlework samplers, 6 memorials, 7 silk on silk pictorials, 1 canvas work picture, 2 stump work pictures, and an unopened copy of Betty Ring's two volume book "Girlhood Embroidery". Highlights among the samplers on sale include an exuberant Canadian sampler by Mary Ann Coppen (1826); a graphically exciting Burlington sampler by Ann Borton (1820); and the four remaining samplers from the Mary Jaene Edmond collection: 1811 NH sampler by Jane Abbot, 1825 NH sampler by Mary Richards, 1830s sampler by Eliza Riddell probably from MD, and rare needlework sampler by Margaret Murphy.
Announcement at M. Finkel & Daughter about their First Annual Winter Online Event, which will go live Monday, December 8 at 11:00 AM, EST, and continue through 6:00 PM, EST on December 22. Discounts between 20% and 40% (and a few even up to 50%!) on 28 samplers from America, England, and Continental Europe. All items on sale are from their current offerings and each one is fully conserved and researched. The announcement at the Samplings website includes a preview of five of the samplers to be discounted: (a) an outstanding New Hampshire house & lawn sampler by Nancy Wason (1827); (b) Sarah Ballade's c. 1840 Niagara sampler, formerly in the collection of Betty Ring; (c) an 1831 Philadelphia sampler with Quaker motifs by Anna Maria Johnson; (d) a French silk pictorial with folk appeal; and (e) an unusual 1829 sampler by Mary Ann Smith that combines needlework and calligraphy.
Blog post by "SilkDamask" (September 25, 2014) on the people, houses, and costumes in Hannah Otis's large overmantel pictorial embroidery entitled "View of Boston Commons" (c. 1750). Clearly illustrated is the Georgian style Hancock Mansion owned by Thomas (1703-1764) and Lydia (1714-1776) Hancock, uncle and aunt to the orphaned John Hancock and with whom he lived. Blog post suggests Hannah stitched all three Hancocks in her embroidery and discusses the fashionable clothes they are depicted as wearing. Hannah Otis (1732-1801) was the daughter of Colonel James and Mary Allwyne Otis. Hannah's older sister was Mercy Otis Warren, a well-known poet, playwright, and wide published historian who supported the American Revolution. The embroidery remained in the Otis family until 1996 when it was sold to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for a record breaking $1,157,500. The blog post includes images of Hannah's spectacular embroidery and portraits of the Hancocks. Click on the History Blog link to get an enlarged image of the Hannah's "View of Boston Commons".