A sampler to savour
I went to an antiques centre yesterday. It was in an old coaching inn, and each wobbly-floored room brought new treasures into view. Everything was laid out wonderfully, and gave the impression of a kind of Aladdin’s cave. For the uninitiated like me, each item was labelled with a date of origin, explanation, and price tag. Many of the samplers in the different room also bore some quirky reference to the age of the artist or the circumstances in which she stitched. Not so with the two below.
In case you can’t read it, the label suggested that these particular samplers “would be great for a kitchen or wine bar!” A number of thoughts spring to mind:
- Did the people who had skilfully labelled all the other items really have no idea about the origin of these phrases?
- If they did, what made them feel that they would look at home in a wine bar?
- Were the phrases from the sacred text of another religion, would there not have been complaints by now?
I don’t wish to make a mountain out of this particular molehill. However, I will say this. The labelling of these samplers probably tells us far more about the era in which they are currently displayed than the era in which they were made. Their implicit message about either Biblical ignorance or casual offence is troubling. Just this morning news emerged about the discovery of a ‘lost’ script for the vintage comedy series ‘Blackadder’. Apparently the episode, featuring Blackadder as the proprietor of an inn in Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth, was ditched because it might have been too offensive. Offence is a relative thing, of course – but I am far more concerned about the label above than the prospect of a comedy script with a talking turkey and a sardonic innkeeper.
What do you think?