Monday, 30 March 2009

Nottingham

Last week I finished my essay and assignment on the history of English embroidery and started the next assignment looking at Samplers. I happened to notice that there was an exhibition called Sampling on at Nottingham Castle. So... on a bit of a whim Stewart and I drove up to Nottingham on Saturday to visit the castle...


or more specifically, the castle museum. It is a fabulous museum, housing some wonderful treasures so Stewart went off to explore while I did some in depth study of the Samplers on display.

The exhibition was quite small but had some exquisite examples of Samplers from the Embroiderers'Guild collection, together with new work from artist Heather Belcher. Although the new work was interesting, it was the old stuff I'd come to see.


Some wonderful 17th century Spot Samplers stitched in coloured silks and silver gilt on linen cloth. The stitching is unbelievably tiny and so neat!

There were also Band Samplers from the same period.

The 18th century was represented by work largely made by children in the schoolroom, like this Scottish Sampler with a house motif


And this fabulous Verse Sampler stitched in 1788. These were made by children to encourage such qualities as virtue and obedience! (That is obviously where I went wrong!)

Later in the 18th century samplers were made to show practical skills such as darning. This Darning Sampler is a particularly beautiful example.

I was also delighted to see some work from the 1930s by Rebecca Crompton as she was one of the embroiderers I studied for my Diploma in Machine Embroidery. The machine stitching is perfect... I've a long was to go before my free machining is that neat!

While I was in Nottingham I had hoped I might bump into the sherriff....

Instead I had my own lovely Friar Tuck (which explains the mystery of the cake) to drive me home!

24 comments:

  1. Sitting here with the giggles..is hubby happy at being referred to as Friar Tuck?!! Lovely work on those samplers, so delicate. I have a Heather Belcher bag (rather old now) - wonder how her work has evolved.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I kidnapped the sherrif some time ago! Wonderful samplers, have you seen the ones at Montacute House in Somerset?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah but did you see the new series of Robin Hood - your Friar Tuck looks nothing like the new one!

    I've just put my great-great grandmother's sampler back up on the wall - dated 1852!

    Lucy x

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow - what beautiful work! Friar tuck looks like a rather handsome fellow!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, to bump into him...!!
    Those samplers are beautiful.

    I love that spangly ring you made, Gina!! Lovely!
    As for the cake...none left for me then?!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I adore antique samplers and have a small collection. I don't think that I have ever seen a darning sampler before - how interesting.
    The Fitzwilliam museum is supposed to have a good collection but I suspect that it is mostly in storage - perhaps you could request a special viewing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh I so want to do your course too Gina. One lifetime is just not enough is it? Lovely blog x

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're so funny Gina -- sorry you didn't see the sheriff. Those samplers are gorgeous -- I especially like the Scottish one. I love samplers -- I have a pile of them that really need to be stitched. Oh so many projects!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a lovely trip. I read in the weekend paper that Friar Tuck has been reinvented for the new TV robin hood - as a tall young handsome black man ;-)

    I love looking at old samplers - especially the words and lettering. years ago at art college I recorded loads of alphabets from samplers in the Fitzwilliam and compared them to digitised type fonts - the research for designing digital fonts was all happening in Cambridge at the time and the work they were doing was so similar to how letters are stitched on counted threads - I could bore you all rigid about this ...

    Celia
    x

    ReplyDelete
  10. Those samplers are wonderful. I was lucky enough to inherit a sampler made by my mother-in-law's grandmother in 1850 when she was 13 It had been handed down from mother to daughter, but when my husband's sister died, her daughter didn't want it so my dear brother-in-law offered it to me. I had admired it for years in my mother-in-law's home never dreaming it would come to me eventually. Regards to Friar Tuck.

    ReplyDelete
  11. On my doorstep and I didn't know about this! What am I like? Glad to see there's still time to go, the exhibition looks inspiring. And I don't think Stewart bears any resemblance to Friar Tuck! He's got more hair for a start! And se*ier legs! ( hope that doesn't attract spam!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Old samplers are amazing arent they. Such detail, and such perfection in such tiny stitches. Looks like you had a lovely day! x

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a lovely post. I wish I could see that exhibtion!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think you Friar Tuck looks much nicer than the horid sherrif :-)
    What wonderfull samplers, you certainly do go to the best of places, thanks for sharing your lovely pics.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "These were made by children to encourage such qualities as virtue and obedience! (That is obviously where I went wrong!)"

    You mean you didn't get your boys to stitch samplers? No, I didn't get my kids to stitch samplers either. Obviously, children who stitch samplers are obedient. I think it should be in Miriam Stoppard's books on bringing up children, don't you?

    Seriously, I've always loved samplers - so simple, but full of 'a story' and such talent.

    Thanks for sharing.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  16. I almost missed this with it being on my doorstep, then I forgot to blog it, thanks Gina for doing the honours.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Lovely photo's Gina. Must be great to be able to drive to Nottingham.

    Mmm...I would like to run into Mr Rickman too. Delectable sort (and that voice....oooh...er...).

    Glad you had your own lovely Friar Tuck with you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love old samplers, particularly children's schoolroom samplers.

    My mum has one of my grandma's samplers hanging on the wall at home (my grandma taught embroidery in schools) and every time I go home I try to convince her to pass it on to me!

    K x

    ReplyDelete
  19. What an amazing load of embroidery, it sounds fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Now, hang on a minute - if you were out all day Saturday, and you baked the cake on Friday, then someone must have been doing some serious midnight scoffing ...

    ReplyDelete
  21. that sheriff could arrest me anytime!!! wowee!
    beautiful samplers - when i look at anything like that i imagine the person stitching it and what their life was like. takes me away into a different world.

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  22. I honestly stop to visit simply because I saw the orange dress on your avatar. Amazing. I am off to check out your etsy store. Plz come visit me sometime. I'm going to follow.

    Danielle

    ReplyDelete
  23. Ah Pat has already suggested Montacute House - it is worth a vist as they have some seriously gorgeous samplers but you can't photograph! as it NT. but you can buy postcards in the shop and there is also a book on samplers available. I love watching Alan Rickman he always does baddies so well! Perhaps your sock people liked your cake? Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  24. That was a wonderful day out Gina.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving me a comment. I love to read what you have to say and try to reply directly by email when possible... although it sometimes takes me a while!