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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An opportunity missed, 6 Jan 2013
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum (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 Samplers (Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks)

The section on embriodery stitches at the end is OK, I suppose - but any book on embriodery will show you far more ( try the vintage and comprehensive Needlework and Crafts, and what this book cries out for is something linking particular styles of stitching to particular illustrated samplers. General stuff reprinted from a bigger book looks, once again, like something assembled for the museum visitor to pick up in the shop without examining it too closely. So, nice enough, lovely and varied photos - but there are better books out there and I will have to go on looking till I get one that does it all.
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Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum
Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum by Jennifer Wearden (Paperback - 28 Jun 2002)
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