06 November 2011

George V & Mary: jubilee sampler, 1935

From 1935, a sampler celebrating the silver jubilee of George V and Queen Mary.  It appears to be stitched from a transfer.  The one above was in an online auction.
Here is another version of the same sampler from a different online auction:

There are subtle differences in the colour choices of the two embroiderers (eg. in the thread colour for the names of the king and queen).  Transfer patterns may or may not have specified thread colours, but stitchers would also be likely to look at their existing threads and use something close in colour because they had it, or different to the illustrated design's thread colour because they preferred it.  Transfer designs for patriotic samplers were sometimes available as kits, but could also (and I think, at this time period, more often) just be a magazine illustration and a transfer either with the magazine or available through the post, with the final thread choice being at the embroiderer's discretion.

These sorts of cross-stitch transfers used one simple stitch, and so involve less skill and, often, less variation than designs requiring even an easy range of embroidery stitches (eg. satin stitch, stem stich, back stitch etc).  It's interesting to compare them to present-day designs, most of which are sold as kits with fabric and thread provided.  The fabric is generally very evenly woven (aida or, more rarely, linen) and with the threads provided, the impulse to change colours is lessened.  Two versions of the same modern day cross-stitch kit (eg. from William and Kate's wedding) would be far less likely to have any variation than even the subtle changes evident in the two designs above.  The fabric imposes precision, and the thread uniformity.  The two embroiderers represented above, while they stitched the same sized transfer, chose their background evenweave fabric (linen, cotton or whatever they chose) and threads.

If you know where this design was originally published, or have any other information about it, or any other photos of it, please do leave a comment so the information can be added to this blog entry. 

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