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Needlework exercise book worked by Emma Hart at Worthing School in 1835.
Mrs H.A. Longman Bequest (T.147-1938

 

As the population increased during the eighteenth century, philanthropists and churches became involved with the problems created by a growing underclass of uneducated children. Consequently the role of Charity Schools, old and newly established, grew in importance. No longer were samplers primarily the product of the more prosperous classes, they soon became an essential element in the curricula of schools for the poor. Concentration on stitch variety and decorative appeal became less important for the young who would have to work for their living. An ability to ‘mark’ in simple cross stitch, to learn basic literacy by means of working inscriptions which, at the same time, would inculcate religious beliefs and moral standards, became the basic functions of samplers made by girls destined for the world of employment. Domestic service was the expected lot for most poor girls and with all clothing and soft furnishings dependent on hand sewing, needle skills were of prime importance. While the mistress of the household would have the leisure for decorative embroidery, her servants would be expected to ‘mark’ and mend, and perhaps assist with simple embroidery. A competently worked sampler could be described as a poor girl’s CV, helping her to enter the world of work a step above the lowest positions. 

 

 

Decalogue sampler, 1723. Inscribed ‘Barberah Iones’. Linen, yellow, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross stitch. 64 x 53.25 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher Bequest (T.125-1928)

 

Sampler with framing border, 1761. Inscribed ‘Hetty Grigg’. Wool, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross and satin stitch. 21.5 x 30.5 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher Bequest (T.157-1928)

 

Sampler with framing border, 1820 –30. Inscribed ‘Caroline Collins’. Wool, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross stitch. 40.3 x 43.2 cm.
Given by Miss Alice J. Cooke (T.1-1946)