Two Norfolk Exhibitions
During September 2018, two excellent exhibitions were held in Norfolk.
The first, held at Little Massingham Church was a rare chance to see the privately-owned Mary Dowell sampler. At an amazing 41 foot by 20” it was made between the years 1830 and 1880 at Dunton Vicarage as a ‘visitors book sampler’. It is made up of 400 different canvas patches with over 1000 designs which were stitched by guests and family when visiting the vicarage. The sampler is a time-line of stitching and uses at the earlier end, fine canvas and small delicate designs using naturally dyed wools with stitches such as tent stitch and Gobelin and later going through to coarser canvases using cross stitch and larger, bolder designs in commercially dyed brighter coloured wools. The whole was stitched together by the vicar’s wife, Mary Dowell nee Brereton who encouraged all those visiting the vicarage for the many social events held in the village to stitch a contribution to the sampler.
The second exhibition was Diss Quilters’ Show at South Lopham Church where, as well as the very accomplished modern work by members of the group there were two very different ‘antique’ quilts on display. Owned separately by two sisters, the first was a Suffolk Puffs coverlet made using scraps of fabric including feedsacks which were laid out to make a pleasing design. It was bought whilst on holiday in America and it wasn’t until it was taken to her local quilt group in Suffolk that the owner knew that it was made of Suffolk Puffs and so had in a way come home! The second quilt was a Welsh wholecloth which had come down through the family and more details can be found about this quilt on the Quilt of the Month page.