HNW - On-line sampler treasure trove!

Kim Salazar kbsalazar at
Tue May 23 07:28:07 PDT 2000


I've already posted about this to the historic knit group, but there's even 
more here that is of interest to embroiderers.

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is currently staging an excellent exhibit on 
samplers.  "Common Threads" is up until July 23.  While the majority of the 
stuff in the exhibt is post 1700, there are a good half dozen pieces from 
the 17th century, plus a couple that are even earlier.

AND among the printed patterns and pattern books on display it has an 
original copy of Siebmacher's 1597 book on display (unfortunately all you 
can see is the reindeer page).   The Siebmacher original is about the size 
of a modern paperback, but bound on the short end rather than the edge that 
we would expect the spine.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the exhibit's curator has published a book 
illustrating about half of what's on display.

Parmel, Pamela.  Samplers from A to Z.  Boston:  MFA Publications, 2000. 
ISBN 0-87846-481-6.

The book is arranged according to the metaphor of an "ABC" book, with one 
sampler illustrating a concept for each letter.  O is for Origins, for 
example has a particularly memorable piece of Mamluk pattern darning, dated 
1300-1420 - featuring bands of pattern darning of the type used for the 
ends of waist sashes.  The book is certainly useful and interesting - and 
worthy addition to anyone's reference library (especially if they are 
interested in samplers of the 1700-1800s).

Now for the best part.  A book is nifty, but not quite immediately 
accessible to us Webfolks.  The MFA has thought of us, too!  They have put 
the exhibit on line AND they have also posted an on-line gallery showcasing 
their samplers from their "back room" collections.  Hundreds of them!  Here 
are the URLs.  The first gives details on the public exhibit.  The second 
links to the on-line sampler extravaganza:


Ianthe d'Averoigne
ianthe at

Kim Salazar
kbsalazar at

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