skip to content

Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 - 17:00

FREE ADMISSION

 

 

Band sampler, 1669. Initialled ‘M W’. Linen, embroidered with polychrome silks in double running, cross, Montenegrin cross, two-sided Italian cross, satin, counted satin, Algerian eye, stem, whipped stem and trellis stitch, some couching, bullion knots and detached buttonhole stitch. 21 x 70 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher Bequest (T.44-1928)

 

Repeat patterns of stylised flowers are ubiquitous on seventeenth-century band samplers and were probably worked because they were familiar and attractive, with little thought given to their traditional symbolism. However, when looked at more closely, some flora, fauna, people, places and buildings would seem to have a specific symbolic meaning, often associated with the political upheavals of the seventeenth century. Trying to unravel the hidden messages embroidered by a young girl can give an insight into her, or her family’s, loyalties and opinions. Samplers may be regarded as innocent domestic products but when they include obvious symbols, such as a prominent sunflower suggesting veneration of the monarch, Charles I, or references to the Battle of Worcester with depictions of Boscobel House, and the Royal Boscobel Oak telling the story of the flight of the future Charles II, then they become stitched documents of their time. It seems that thoughts on contemporary politics, often hidden behind symbolism because of the danger of explicit statements, were embedded in a girl’s seemingly uncontroversial embroidery. A sampler can then take on the role of a historic document.

 

Band sampler, 1654. Inscribed ‘An [sic] Smeeth’. Linen, embroidered with polychrome silks with a small amount of silver metal thread, spangles and pearls, in double running, cross, long armed cross, Montenegrin cross, arrowhead cross, Algerian eye, detached chain, plaited braid, trellis stitch, couching, filling stitches and bullion knots. 24.75 x 59.5 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher Bequest (T.18-1928)

 

 

Band sampler, 1666. Inscribed ‘Rachel Loader’. Linen, embroidered with polychrome silks in double running, cross, long armed cross, Montenegrin cross, chain, satin, herringbone, whipped stem, Algerian eye, hem and trellis stitch with some couching and detached needle lace stitches. 20.25 x 82 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher Bequest (T.39-1928)

 

Band sampler, 1660s. Linen, embroidered with polychrome silks in running, double running, cross and filling stitches. 18.25 x 59.5 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher (T.31-1928)