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What a wonderful find that I am proud to present to you this fine day! This unique and unrepeated French marking and pictorial sampler boasting unique design elements is truly a wonderful piece to own. All of the strong, inherent colors seem to come alive given the dark chocolate ground it was worked on while the fancy stitching and focal accents seem to draw us in for a closer look.
This special textile worked by, “Julia Guilpin” dated 1888, is steeped in rich history of origin as far as where she lived as noted in the sampler, “Chaumont Sur Loire”. This particular area in France is a commune (level of administrative division in the French Republic), located in the “Loir-et-Cher” department in central France known for its historic defensive walls (attacks were prevalent) as well as the notorious castle (Chateau de Chaumont), images attached. This quaint town located near two rivers called the Loire and the Massee actually intersect through the town. The area of the Lourie Valley covers 310 square miles and is referred to as the “Cradle of the French” and the “Garden of France” due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards as well as artichoke and asparagus fields that line the river banks. This beautiful area nestled in France is noted for its historic towns, architecture and wines not to mention that this valley has been inhabited for over 30,000 years. See images 23 & 24.
The meaning behind Julia’s inscription of the words, “Chaumont (bald mountain) sur (in) and Loire” (river) is now revealed and we thank her for providing us with these monumental clues as it gives insight as to where she lived when this sampler was wrought!
Beautiful attention to detail was expertly executed in creating the fancy letters of the alphabet that convey a two toned color choice of buttermilk accents adhering to a pronounced mustard letter block. However the letters “U” through “Z” sport a lighter salmon hue. A cluster of small posies enhance the right and left sides near the last row of the alphabet rendering charming results.
The red numbers have opposing design elements located on each side; a house flanked by trees and a steam boat releasing smoke from the stack equipped with a flag near the stern as it journeys down the river. The word, “maison” stitched just below the house in English means “home” while the word, “bateau” translates to the word “boat”. Just above “Julia’s” name is a word entitled “Souvenir” that means memento i.e., something kept as a reminder and you can just bet this fabulous sampler was cherished and honored hung on a prominent wall by her proud mother.
The date of “1888” was stitched twice on the right and left hand side with the location of origin, “Chaumont Sur Loire”, holding high regard in the middle. A Greek key design followed by a series of double random crosses dominates the border and are extremely effective accents.
This sampler is affected by staining limited to the upper and middle portion areas as shown in the images. In its defense this piece is so unusual with the uncommon element depicting a boat and given the clues about where Julia was from……well I think we can forgive this circumstance. This beautiful textile still shows well and is framed implementing a grain painting technique and now protected under glass.
The sampler will grace any wall in style while lending importance to the pleasing attributes it has to offer as it has been worked by a little girl who did her best. I just know Julia would be proud that her sampler is a true survivor and that it will be cherished in a home where someone will appreciate her work for years to come. Enjoy!
Sampler measures 17 ¾” across (right to left), measures 13” tall and is ¾” thick.