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Feller Collection endowed to Ashmolean

Sixty-one pieces of 17th century English embroidery have been gifted to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford by local residents, Micheál and Elizabeth Feller. Their collection has long been considered one of the world’s most important and all are currently on display in The Eye of the Needle exhibition at the Ashmolean until 12 October 2014.

Panels, samplers, domestic items and costume pieces are all included in the donation, which is thought to have a value of over £500,000. The Fellers are well known in the city as proprietors of a renowned butchers shop in the Covered Market and have been collecting for almost forty years since they were first married. Elizabeth Feller, an accomplished embroiderer herself whose mother was a seamstress comments: ‘Thanks to my mother’s influence, sewing and embroidery has been a meaningful activity throughout my life… Micheál and I are delighted that the seventeenth-century embroideries will now find a home at the Ashmolean where they will be cared for and enjoyed by people for many years to come.’

The donation coincides with the retirement of Professor Christopher Brown CBE who has said ‘The Ashmolean has, throughout its history, established important friendships with private collectors and it is often said that the Museum has become a “collection of collections” where we take pride in honouring the people who have built collections through individual enthusiasm and commitment. The Feller Collection is just such an example; and it is a huge personal honour that this gift comes to the Ashmolean in my last week as Director.’

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Needlepoint whitework lace panel showing the Judgement of Soloman, mid 17th century, 13 x 18 cm, linen, glass beads and pearls, Feller Collection

 

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