The sampler gods were kind to me as I am able to bring this extraordinary of early Victorian pettipoint embroidery to my shop. In the design and execution of this embroidery, our 13-year-old stitcher, Eliza Pipe, displays skill rarely found in schoolgirl samplers. To top it off, this work of needle art is at least double or triple the size of most samplers.
She chose a religious verse upon which to surround her charming vignettes of English country life, as well as a myriad of animals, insects and flowers, all in pettipoint. I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite motif, but allow me to discuss each one.
One the right and left of the verse, Eliza placed scenes from her life that reflected the daily activities of women, children and men. On the right-hand side is a lady with a parasol standing before a child petting a dog, while a large parrot is screeching on a stand nearby. There are flowers, shrubs and grass as well as butterflies and birds included in just this one vignette.
To the left of the verse a young man is dressed in hunting garb, complete with tall boots, wide-brimmed hat and a shotgun. Looking up at him are his hound hunting dogs. The trees, shrubs and grass are also accompanied with birds and butterflies. It’s a wonderful depiction of the sporting life.
Eliza divided her sampler at this point with an undulating row of flowers. In her central section she chose to embroider a pair small vignettes of large pheasants standing on grass with a leafy shrub behind each. She reserved the center for her largest vignette of a young man sitting on a knoll, his faithful spaniel lying next to him. There is a sheep just coming out of the surrounding thick woods. Hovering above are huge butterflies with smaller birds around trees every few inches. There is even a small deer tucked between the central vignette and a smaller one. To the right of this large vignette is a small dog sniffing the ground.
Her final pair of vignettes show a young ladies holding up cats with accompanying butterflies, flowers and even a small bird house on a stand close by. To fill the spaces between her larger motifs and her vignettes, she chose roses on stems, lush flowers, baskets of fruit and even more butterflies.
Her name and accompanying information is on the sampler’s bottom section. It reads: “Eliza Pike Born October the 25 1826 Worked at Mrs. Horne’s Seminary in the Year 1839 Birmingham.” Beneath this inscription lies the bottom of her exuberant floral border. This wide border surrounds the entire sampler. It consists of an undulating vine with roses and leaves jutting out every so often. Each of the four corners has a larger motif of roses and rosebuds with leaves filling the entire corner.
The high caliber of her work is hard to believe as she accomplished it at age 13. She used a traditional color scheme for this phenomenal piece. It was done entirely in shades of green, brown, golds, and black, with a touch of dark blue. It was worked on a very fine, tightly woven linen ground. Her pettipoint stitches are incredibly even, showing great detail in the figures, fauna and flora. Eliza simply possessed a command of the needle that even few older women exhibited.
It is housed in its original wide molded rosewood frame with a wood and gesso gilded slip. It is a gorgeous frame which has acquired a deep, rich reddish-brown color and an outstanding glossy patina. The gilded slip has mellowed to a soft gold color.
The condition of this piece is excellent, especially considering its age. The linen shows age toning, but the color is now a deep golden that adds to the antique character of the sampler. The colors of the silk floss have faded somewhat, but most have retained an exceptional amount of color. The silk floss is still luminous. There is some insect damage that shows as teeny holes here and there. However, these small imperfections cannot take away from the overall charm and exquisite needlework of this very early Victorian, large-scale sampler.
It measures 30-1/4 inches wide by 23 inches high, including the frame.
Large and Impressive Early Victorian Silkwork Pettipoint Sampler Dated 1839
$1,635 $1,985 SALE