I first learned of Siva Swaminathan's illness in 2008, just before the Ackworth2008 event. We had scheduled a group to visit his well known sampler collection and Siva phone me up, barely able to speak, saying regretfully the visit would have to be called off that time.
After his sounding so poorly, I was delighted to see him rally for the special dinner we had at Montacute House with Nancie Goodhart. It was hard to believe that any illness could touch this giant of a man with impeccable manners and a great sense of fun. One of the few men at the dinner, he endeared himself to all immediately by sporting a pullover with a large sampler design on the front!
I am glad the world enjoyed his presence for another six years and give thanks for his life - one aspect of which was his assembling of a fine sampler collection. Now the pieces he brought together are to go the way of the clouds; like all collections they form, they come and go, they build and then are dispersed by the winds of time in all directions. Whenever this happens there is a sense of melancholy. Once at home within their own companionship, the scattered pieces will be as the fragments of a mirrored smile on the face of the collector. But they will not be lost. Each will be gathered up once again into another's smile, as shall Siva.
The Siva Swaminathan Collection of Samplers will be auctioned at Dukes of Dorchester on 31 July 2014. To see the catalogue and the samplers, click here.