Harlequin and Columbine Sampler with Alphabets and Motifs,

Harlequin and Columbine Sampler with Alphabets and Motifs,

Italy, circa 1820

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sampler size: 13” x 23¾” • mounted size: 14¼” x 24¼" • price: $1400

The tradition of samplermaking wasn’t as prevalent in southern Europe as it was in northern Europe, or, of course, in the British Isles. We’re always delighted to be able to offer a sampler made in a southern European country, especially Italy. These are generally not signed or dated and can offer a plethora of excellent motifs and are often very finely stitched, as is the case with this excellent example. Of significance is the portrayal of Harlequin and Columbine, dominant figures of Commedia dell'arte, an early form of theater that originated in Italy and became popular in Europe as street theater from the 16th to the 18th century. 

Additional and notable depictions include a top-hatted man on horseback, a rooster, a caged bird and a woman with a water jug on her head. Other assorted motifs, some of them tiny, are hearts – linked or with arrows, birds and animals, potted flowers, and baskets of fruit. The alphabets (Italian versions) along the top and bottom and several partial patterned bands worked down the sides frame the composition well.

Worked in silk on linen, this sampler is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted but is not yet framed. We can frame and fit the sampler as well.

 

Photo of reverse

 

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