News & Insights

Samplers and Needlework Excel

20th May 2019.

Rare and beautiful antique samplers and needlework were the order of the day in Tennants Auctioneers’ Costume, Accessories & Textiles Sale on 18th May, when an exceptional private collection came under the hammer, selling for a total hammer price of £30,470 for the sixteen lots.


The samplers and needlework were a lifetime’s collection, put together by the Late Mrs Josephine Orskey of Burford Lodge, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, an ardent admirer of antique textiles. The star lots of the collection were two 17th Century White Work Band Samplers, which sold for £6,200 and £3,500 (plus buyer’s premium). Multiple bidders in the room, online and on the telephone competed for this prized collection, which was undoubtedly the best needlework collection to be sold at Tennants.

Further highlights from the collection included an 18th Century Alphabet Band Sampler, Worked by Elizabeth Blackburn and dated 1723 (Sold for £3,000 plus buyer’s premium) and an Early 19th Century Darning Sampler, Worked by Elizabeth Smith, Aged 14 and dated 1814 (Sold for £2,900 plus buyer’s premium). One of the most unusual items was a small 17th Century Dutch or Flemish Needlework Panel, depicting a lady and gent and embellished with pearl and coral beads. It had been overstitched on the reverse, and it is thought that the panel made its way to England after the Restoration in 1660, or the Glorious Revolution in 1688 when it was re-worked at the reverse, as the silver thread used on the reverse is primarily found in English needlework.

Elsewhere in the sale, two pairs of early 19th Century Grodnertal Style Carved Wooden Dolls sold for £1,600 and £800 (plus buyer’s premium). These rare and unusual dolls had painted features and silk clothing and were dressed in national costume. The first pair were dressed in the national costume of Lapland, and the second Andalusia.

The sale resulted in a total hammer price of £90,975 with 95% of the 306 lots sold.

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