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Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum Paperback – 28 Jun 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: V & A Publishing (28 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851772901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851772902
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 1.3 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 591,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Clare Browne is a curator at the V&A and the author of Lace and a contributor to Quilts 1700-2010. Jennifer Wearden is the author of Ottoman Embroidery and the forthcoming Iranian Textiles with Patricia L. Baker.


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By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
This could easily have been a five-star book; as it is, it's rather frustrating. The V&A has a wonderful collection of textiles and, presumably, staff who know all about the objects. This book has the look of having been put together as a souvenir, without too much loving attention.

Don't get me wrong; the samplers illustrated are fabulous, and go far beyond the usual British and, perhaps, American examples we're used to seeing. Here are Egyptian samplers of the late Middle Ages, elaborate Spanish ones, exquisite Danish draw-thread embroidery samplers - enough to make the most hardened soul positively dribble. But there isn't nearly enough context or explanation. Five pages of introduction, well enough written but just a general history. The plates which follow, although very well photographed, appear in limbo. Even if one has the patience to flick to and from from the "list of plates" at the beginning (how irritating and, in this day and age, how unnecessary), they tell you precious little about the textiles shown. What the reader wants is a full description, social context, back story (a la the excellent and inexpensive Samplers (The Shire book) Pamela Clabburn) printed on the same page as each sampler. With modern printing this should be automatic and far from prohibitively expensive.

A far better book, with all the information which this one so sadly lacks, but without the modest selection of embroidery diagrams, is
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
lovely book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a5a03fc) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac13990) out of 5 stars I saw many of these samplers at the V&A Museum in London and was...well...flabbergasted 28 April 2015
By Jane in Milwaukee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have been doing embroidery all my life and in recent years, really got interested in samplers. My wonderful husband of over 20 years is from England so we have the grand natural vacation destination to visit family and friends...and all the historic sites you could want in a country. Hubby is from the far northwest so we've only made it to London twice. Both times, I almost set up a cot at the V&A. I wandered around in a breathless daze, mostly remembering the astonishing Syon Cope. Then I raced upstairs to the Department of Textiles and was more astonished: it was empty. This whole huge room, just for me to enjoy. All along the walls are slanted desks for you to place items to examine and appreciate. Filling up the whole middle of the room is a large number of wooden shelves, much like a library's. And like a library, you can pull out items from the shelves: encased in heavy Plexiglas are examples of stitching from 10,000 B.C. to the 20th century. The shelves are arranged in chronological order so I zoomed to the 1600's and started pulling out samplers--the very ones showcased in this book.

I came across the Jane Bostocke sampler and almost cried. (ok, I admit it: I cried.) To be holding something so beautiful and historic--it just blew my mind. It is the oldest stitch-signed and -dated sampler in the English language. I love it that her name is Jane (or "Iane" on the sampler) and that the sampler is dated 1598. I was born in 1958. Not only the earliest, it's the only such sampler from the 16th century: Tudor times. (Which I also love to study...I adore it that Elizabeth I took the throne exactly 400 before I was born in 1558.)

The samplers are well-displayed in the slightly oversize book; many cover one entire page. Often, there is the sampler and then a close-up detail on the same page. For example, Plate 23 is an English mid-1600's white work band sampler which is identified as silk thread on linen. At 38 by 6 1/2 inches, it's a standard shaped long, elegant sampler. Without the closeup of one of the bands, you wouldn't be able to see that the maker wove the alphabet into her drawn work. The detail is stunning.

There is only a 5-page introduction to the collection, then a 13-page listing of the details of each Plate. Then on over 102 pages the 100 plates are shown in crisp clear color. It's kind of sweet: after the Plates comes an 8-page Glossary showing about two dozen stitches that are included in the samplers (every sampler has every stitch identified). These are usable stitch diagrams but I think a stitcher would be foolhardy to think she could learn to stitch from this. The samplers are too intimidating!

Jennifer Wearden and Clare Browne are assistant curators of the Textiles Department at the V&A--at least as of the date of this book. Both have written other expert books.

The importance of the Victoria & Albert Museum cannot be overstated. With over 1,000,000 items, it is has the biggest collection of decorative arts in the world. Crazy beautiful. As someone who loves samplers, this is one of my favorite books to browse. And I have about 1,000 needlework books, maybe 100 on samplers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bf31d2c) out of 5 stars samplers 15 Feb. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must have for every serious stitcher. Beautiful color pictures and history.. would recommend to all stitchers, whether new to samplers or quite experienced
HASH(0x9aa68f00) out of 5 stars Easier than a trip to London 28 May 2013
By L. Mehne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift - my wife loves it. It is the quality you expect from a museum book at a very reasonable price.
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