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Huish, Marcus Bourne (1843-1921)

Marcus Bourne Huish, Samplers and Tapestry Embroideries, London 1900. Marcus Bourne Huish, Samplers and Tapestry Embroideries, London 1900.

Marcus Bourne Huish was an English writer and collector of embroideries, especially samplers. Huish is particularly known for his book, Samplers and Tapestry Embroideries (1900, London: Longmans, Green and Co.). 

Marcus Huish was born in 1843 in Castle Donington, Leicestershire (England), the son of Marcus Huish (a sollicitor) and Margaret Jane Bourne. In 1862, at the age of 18, Marcus Bourne Huish went to Trinity Hall, Cambridge University, where he studied law. Huish was called to the bar in 1867 and became a barrister. He married Catherine Mary Winslow in 1878 and they had one daughter, Margaret Dorothy Huish (born in 1879). Huish was very involved in the art world, especially Japanese art, and published several books on the subject. He became a part-time art dealer.

In the early 1880's he retired from the law and became the editor of The Art Journal (editor: 1883-1891). He was also Director of the Fine Arts Society and chairman of the Japan Society (London; 1879-1911). His work with Japanese art and culture was recognised by the Japanese government by the awarding of the rank of Chevalier of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. In addition, he was made a Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy for his part in organising the British section of the International Art Exhibition, in Venice (Italy; later called the Venice Biennale) in 1909.

At some point Huish started to collect samples and samplers and it would appear his large collection included early seventeenth century English examples, as well as Dutch, French, German, Indian, Italian, Scandinavian and other forms. In 1900 he organised an exhibition about the samplers, together with Mrs. Head. The exhibition was called Old Samplers and Tapestry Embroideries and was held at the Fine Art Society's Gallery, London. A small catalogue with the same name accompanied the exhibition. The catalogue was twelve pages long. It was later expanded by Huish and Head into a very much larger study, and unusually for this period, with numerous colour illustrations. This book was the aforementioned Samplers and Tapestry Embroideries (1900). This book was reprinted in 1913 as a new edition that included extra information, especially about American samplers.

Huish died in 1921 in Kensington, London. What happened to his collection of samplers after his death is unknown.


Digital source of illustration (retrieved 1 July 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 20 November 2016 15:34