Sunday, February 5, 2012

New twist on Superbowl Sunday/embroidery treasures

If you'd like to read and think about other things today besides football, you've come to the right place! At left and below is  my idea of superbowling. (Though I am kind of interested in what Madonna will get up to.)
The silk-on-linen needlework sampler below, stitched by 12-year-old Mary Antrim in 1807, just sold at Sotheby’s Important Americana sale for more than $1 million!
Quite beautiful, don't you think? Mary's father was weaver John Antrim. The piece came from the collection of needlework historian and expert Betty Ring. Her heavily illustrated books are viewable online by Sothebys and are a feast for the eyes. They are Girlhood Embroidery, Vol I and Vol II; and American Needlework Treasures. Details of some of my favorites from Vol I are reproduced below.

Above and below: details of an "Adam and Eve" sampler... Lydia Hart, 1744
Allegory by Ann Peartree, 1739
Anonymous, late 18th century
Detail of watercolor depicting an English "Benevolent School" (anonymous, 1895) showing girls working on embroidery.
closeup detail of Ruthy's piece
P.S. We have two lovely embroidery titles, from Afghanistan and Palestine, as well as books on decorative knitting.


  1. For those who were practising their satin stitch, Madonna went through the floor in a puff of smoke--rather like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. Your embroidery examples are a better use of time, and it's good to recognize the artist behind the creation. Thanks!

  2. Thank you so much! These are highlights from only one of the books. Yet another engrossing field to delve into....