Just a Sample

June 22, 2011

Samplers sure are lovely, indeed, if you like them as I do, have a read through this area of Art of Mourning! Below are some images from the collection of Barbara Robbins:

Mourning Death Sampler

Mourning Death Sampler

Mourning Death Sampler

1915 Needlework SamplerA marked change from the earlier funerary symbolism can be seen with this piece, so a softer, more gentle ‘heavenly’ approach, showing cherubic angels and very soft colours.

1915 Needlework SamplerThis style still exists in different shapes and forms today in funerary art. The needlework in this piece is an excellent example of design and colour usage to present a well-balanced and professional piece. Notice the fine detail and dimension to the angels and flowers, which work incredibly well with the needleworked text.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Year: c. 1915
Dedication: Nearer My God to Thee

1914 Memorial Sampler

January 11, 2011

From 1914, this piece shows the great difference in style from the previous century.

In many ways, it is more naive, though has the symbolism of the anchor and cross.

1914 Needlework SamplerUse of ribbons in this piece may have been a personal preference by the weaver, but that shows just how unique these pieces are. The formal style that was popular not long before (and still popular at the same time as this was produced), is simply not used because of the personal nature of the piece and its defiance of external stimuli.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Year: 1914

“In loving memory of our darling boy Thomas Holden
Who died Feb 11 th, 1914
Aged 14 years.

“A lovely child a father’s pride a mother’s hope with tears of love
For we were constant by his side till he was call’d to heaven above
Deeply Mourned

To Aunty From Edith

English 1892 Mourning SamplerSet in its original English Oak frame with a metal backing, this superb sampler raises a lot of questions about its creation and function.

Originating in the Finchley Cemetery outside of London, it gives a heartfelt poem to Mary Coleman from her child (presumably daughter, if in fact created by her). However, this piece also has the number of the grave written in needlework on the bottom and the cemetery name.

English 1892 Mourning SamplerQuestions from this arise as to its original function; was it made to be used at the cemetery mausoleum (given its metal backing), or was it a household memorial that provided extraneous information? Either way, the piece is devoid of graphical embellishment and very prominent with its text, which isn’t unusual for samplers of this time, hence not indicating it being a marker specifically.

A beautiful and proud piece, it’s very heartfelt and sentimental in its personal nature.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Year: 1892
Dedication: Mary Coleman

1892 Mourning Needlework SamplerMuch like the piece from 1886, this piece from 1892 is far superior and shows a very experienced hand in the layout and construction. Its balance with the frame is exceptional and the positioning of text is superb.

This follows the form more common with the latter half of the 19th century in its simple, bold, formal style, though is no less more attractive.

1886 Mourning Needlework SamplerThe open weave of this piece and the bold type make it very plain in its way, but it follows its form well with the frame. Simplicity becomes more and more common as the samplers evolve, as can be seen in the earlier, more elaborate pieces with full memorial scenes. This favours a simple symbol and text.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Year: May 18th 1886

In Loving Memory of John Smith Who died May 18th 1886
Aged nine years and one month

Not Gone From Memory
Not Gone From Love
But Gone To His Father’s
Home Above.

He is not dead but sleepeth near

Mourning Needlework PhotographBeing a later piece, this sampler lacks formal design and opts for a flowing leaf and flower pattern.

Mourning Needlework PhotographThe photograph as the central insert shows that the age is latter 19th century, but the skill it is executed with is elegant enough to compete with earlier pieces.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Country: U.S.A

1858 Mourning Needlework SamplerFrom 1858, this sampler is shows mature and experienced stitching. The two trees bow down to the women mourning next to the plinth and urn, with flowers and the depiction of a bird (possibly a parrot) directly in the centre.

1858 Mourning Needlework SamplerAs well as the design, the personalisation of this piece in that there are two daughters (one possibly a wife) in the frame weeping is an extraordinarily nice touch to a very sentimental and well executed piece.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins

“In Remembrance of a beloved Father / He little warning did me give But
Quickly Called to my Grave O Haste
To Christ make no delay For no one nose
there Dieing day. 1858 / “J H,” it is signed, at the bottom, “A H.”

1855 Needlework Mourning SamplerColourfully styled and showing practice in the use of the needle, this piece shows a wonderful rendering of the plinth and willow. By the mid 19th century, the neoclassical art that was so popular had been eclipsed by other styles and what remained were more stylised concepts than the organic neoclassical depictions of the late 18th century. This can also been seen in the jewellery of the time, pieces that still retained symbolism in favour of bold statements are more inclined to have less symbolism and greater formal styling.

1855 Needlework Mourning SamplerOf note is the use of the alphabet in the sampler, a common practice for the more home-based sampler creations. Match this with the previous piece from 1797 and you’ll see a strong continuity.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins
Year: June 22 1855
Dedication: Thomas Isbister

1843 Mourning Needlework SamplerJust using the text, this sampler is a charming statement from a sister to a departed infant brother. Miss Preston, who created this piece may not have been terribly old herself, but her poem shows signs of a mature woman’s grief for her brother.

1843 Mourning Needlework SamplerCourtesy: Barbara Robbins

“In Memory of The Late Matthew Preston O Departed
This Life June 1 1843 Aged 3 Years
death has been here
and borne away a
brother from our side
Just in the morning
of is life as soon as
When he died”

Dating from seven years ahead of the previous sampler, this English piece from 1840 has motifs that are more common with the sentimental type of its time. More unique is the dedication to three people on the same sampler, which makes this a family history piece as well as a dedication. The three children whom the dedications are written for are one year, one year and seven months respectively.

1840 Needlework Mourning SamplerEach is a different infant mortality within the family, with the sampler being dated twenty years after the death of the last child. The simplicity of the piece in its use of two colours and geometric, angular column / urn shapes display this piece as being very bold in its design.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins

John Fisher Rimington their son Died July 5 1811 at Long Bennington Aged 1 Day

Hugh Rimington their son Died October 20 1820 at Coddington in the County of Nottinham Aged 7 months

Robert Rimington Son of Thomas and Sarah Rimington of Long Bennington in the county of Lincoln Died June 11 1810, Aged 1 Day

“This thought shall stop the falling tear
For you a God was crucified
Ye fell in peace my children dear
In pangs your great Redeemer died

That thus ye Tell I’ll praise that God
To Whom no prayer is breath’d in vain
You felt no proud Oppressors rod
Nor haughty Tyrant’s galling chain.”

Thomas Rimington
Sarah Rimington Bechingham, 1840

1834 Mourning Sampler

November 12, 2010

1834 Mourning SamplerThe simplistic nature of this piece from 1834 is a wonderful example of needlework and symmetry. From Birmingham, Ann Babbington has used wonderfully iconic and simple stitching to achieve a heartfelt memorial.

1834 Mourning Sampler

The lines “Affliction sore long time he bore / Physicians were in vain / Till God did please to give him ease /And free him from is pain” this unique rhyme is so wonderfully special to Ann in her stitching that it elevates the piece into something unlike any other.

1834 Mourning SamplerOf note is the repair work to the sampler, which may take away from its monetary value, but does not detract from the beauty of the art.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins

“John Babbington Who Died April th’18 1834 Aged…”
Affliction sore long time he bore
Physicians were in vain
Till God did please to give him ease
And free him from is pain

Why do ye mourn departed friends
Or shake at deaths alarms
Tis but the voice that Jesus sends
To call us to his arms

Go home dear friends and sheed no tears
I must lie hear tll Christ appears
And when he comes I hope to have A joyful rising from the grave

Ann Babbington her work done in the Blue coat charity school Birmingham

1797 Mourning Sampler

November 9, 2010

1797 Mourning Needlework SamplerOver the next few Needlework and Art updates, I’ll be referencing this piece, as it shows the evolution of the sampler form quite well.

Over the period of 1780s to 1914, the samplers evolved in their construction, but the techniques and motifs behind them tend to be based upon the same ideal. This piece has a floral weaving arrangement as a border, along with alphanumeric motifs.

1797 Mourning Needlework SamplerThis may not show any particular mourning motif, but the inscription on the above sampler resonates as a personal expression for the loss of a loved one. Note how the metallic sheen of the woven thread still retains its lustre.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins

To the Memory of Mr. John Crompton, Aged 21

“In truth sincere, in disposition kind,
With such unfeign’d humility of mind,
His talents great, his manners were demure,
His sense refin’d, his conversation pure.
His friendship lasting, was with east retain’d
For in his bosom, friendship’s precepts reign’d,
But more than this, his Piety was true.
-“His study duty,” virtues found in few.
Such was Crompton. Within whose youthful breast,
The deeds of vice, ne’er had their wonted rest.
But Heav’n was pleas’d to stop the fleeting hour.
And blight the fragrance of the opening flower.
We mourn. But not for him remov’d from pain.
Our loss we trust is his Eternal gain.
Like him we’ll stirve to win the Saviors love.
And hope to join him with the blest above.

Sarah Holt 1797

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