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Band Sampler, 1726. Inscribed ‘Miriem Brocklehurst’. Linen, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross, double running, satin, back, eyelet and Florentine stitch. 23.5 x 42.5 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher Bequest (T.128-1928)

 

During the long eighteenth century, samplers evolved from the traditional formats of the previous century, those of band, white work and spot motif, to products of innovative shapes and functions. The increasing emphasis on the attainment of literacy meant that they were no longer simply aide-mémoires of stitch and pattern. Alphabets and numerals were accompanied by morally uplifting excerpts from the Bible, and other worthy educative volumes, as more and more girls received some form of education. Stitching fashions came and went, Florentine stitch was a favourite in the first half of the century, damask darning in the later decades. Instead of being rolled and kept in a work bag or box for personal reference, the sampler became a ‘picture’ to display on the wall, often portrait-shaped with a neat border enclosing the inscription and decorative motifs, proof of well-spent, disciplined hours in the classroom. However, some characteristics persisted over the decades, many patterns and motifs retained their popularity and the concept of arranging the sampler’s contents in horizontal bands, perhaps less rigidly than previously, continued throughout the eighteenth century and into the next.

 

 

Darning sampler, 1806. Inscribed ‘Mary Jennings’. Cotton, embroidered with polychrome silks in damask darning, darning, chain, stem, whipped running and cross stitch with some drawn work. 42 x 45.4 cm.
Dr J.W. L. Glaisher Bequest (T.169-1928)
 

 

Sampler with framing border, 1795. Inscribed ‘Sarah Williamson’. Wool, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross, satin, stem, tent and long filling stitches. 31.2 x 43 cm.
Given by Miss J.D.W. Eames (T.1-2000)

 

 

Sampler with framing border, 1813. Inscribed ‘E. Nealy’. Wool, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross and satin stitch. 31.1 x 52 cm.
Mrs H.A. Longman Bequest (T.54-1938)

 

Sampler with framing border, 1801. Inscribed ‘Elizabeth Bates’. Wool, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross, satin, stem, darning and herringbone stitch. 32 x 49 cm.
Lady St John Hope Bequest (T.11-1939)