Sarah Smith, Miniature Sampler,

Sarah Smith, Miniature Sampler,

England, circa 1800

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sampler size: 3½” x 4½” • framed size: 5” x 6” • sold

Diminutive scale and carefully wrought tiny motifs make miniature samplers one of the most endearing forms of needlework. This fine example measures just over 3 by 4 inches and is inscribed “Sarah Smith Born September 27 1787”. It bears the verse “I love The Lord and he will be a tender Father unto me.” Sarah used a wonderful assortment of colored silk threads and stitched traditional English elements: hearts, crowns, dogs and a central potted stylized plant, all within a blue-gray tiny geometric border.

This sampler was in the Emma-Henriette (Reitzes) Schiff von Suvero Collection, which included a large, fascinating group of European and American samplers, as well as furniture, porcelain and paintings. Emma was born in 1873 in Vienna, the daughter of an influential and wealthy Jewish banker. Her collection was inventoried by the Nazi regime in 1939 and ultimately transferred by forced “sale” to the Staatliche Kunstgewerbemuseum, Vienna, now known as the Museum Fur Angewandte Kunst (MAK). These items remained at the Museum until the spring of 2003 when they were rightfully restituted by the Austrian Government to the heirs of Emma-Henriette Schiff von Suvero. The samplers were sold at an auction in London in 2003 and many joined private and museum collections at that time.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition, conservation mounted in a fine period carved and painted frame.   

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