(Latest update of this page – 28/9/2017)
I have a selection of antique Samplers for sale, many of which I have conserved by hand-sewing the Sampler onto either natural unbleached linen, or raw silk and mounting this onto museum quality board before having it framed and glazed (using the original frame where possible). The prices DO NOT include postage and packing. A number of my Samplers are for sale at Great Grooms Antiques Centre, Hungerford, Berks
81/6 – A………. – A simple but striking undated Victorian Sampler worked in thick wool on a coarse cloth by Naomi (probably the letters “NHA” following the alphabet are her initials). “By this you see what care my parents took of me”. Naomi’s Sampler is possibly typical of the thousands of now lost examples made at the “penny” schools. She was not given fine quality cloth, or silks to sew with, and probably not expert tuition, but she obviously felt her parents would be pleased with her achievement. The edges of the Sampler were turned under and hemmed, then a piece of different fabric was neatly over-sewn to the back – possibly by Naomi. It has now been conserved by being hand sewn onto Irish linen before being framed and glazed. £185
148 – Andrews – An attractively presented Map Sampler of the late 18th, or early 19th century, embroidered (to a design in use from the 1780’s) by E Andrews. Worked on a finely woven cloth, the names of the counties and principal rivers of England & Wales are embroidered in minute black cross-stitch. The map is surrounded by a colourful garland of carefully embroidered flowers ~ to include rosebuds, jasmine, cornflowers, carnations and fuchsia. Framed & glazed. £415
253 Eliza Bangs finished her very attractive Sampler at the age of just 10 years, in 1845. Eliza embroidered her minute cross stitches on a very fine pale woollen tammy cloth using silks which have retained their vibrant shades. This Sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto fine muslin which has been backed by conservation grade mount board before being placed in its period birds-eye maple frame. £445
153a – Batten – An unusual collection of three late 19th century Samplers, belonging to one family (surname Batten, of Well Springs, Sotwell, Berkshire – now Oxfordshire) and contained within one frame. At the top is a small colourful alphabet Sampler embroidered in fine wool ~ cross stitch. Below this is a slightly larger example, worked with similar wools and cloth by “E B” during the “Jubilee Year 1887“, saying “God save our Gracious Queen Long Live our Noble Queen God save the Queen”. Beneath these is a very uncommon survivor ~ sewn on pre-punched card (available from the 1870’s and sometimes called ‘Bristol Board’, generally used by quite small children [both boys and girls] for Samplers or moral texts). In this case, the tiny holes are very neatly embroidered with fine blue and brown threads scribing ~ “If Siners Intice The Consent Thou Not My Brother X John Batten X Sotwell Berks”. This is attached to a short length of dark blue ribbon. At the base is a small piece cut from a school exercise book saying “Emma Batten Stan III”. On the reverse of the frame, a note reads “Samplers worked in Brightwell School by Emma and John Batten of The Well Springs”. A little research on the internet shows that according to the 1881 census, John and Emma Batten lived at Well Springs, Sotwell, with their children Emma, Anne, Louis John and Charlie. Emma jnr would have been eleven in 1887, when she embroidered her ‘Jubilee’ Sampler. She may have worked the Alphabet Sampler when she was younger, or perhaps Anne (three years her junior) made it, presumably, the card Sampler was sewn by Louis John. £145
24 – Julia Bird stitched her Sampler in 1890 “To my Mother“. She used the popular sentiment “Home Sweet Home” as her theme, and included motifs of – Mother standing at the door of the home, kettles, and pet dogs as well as a number of birds – a reminder of her surname, perhaps. This Sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto natural unbleached Irish linen, before being framed and glazed.
152a Brown – Helen Kinnear Brown didn’t date her Sampler, but the style suggests it was sewn in the late 18th, or early 19th century, and it has a ‘Scottish’ or ‘North of England’ feel to it. The row of initials ~ probably of close family viz: ‘RB’, ‘AB’, ‘MB’, ‘HB’ ~ was a feature of these areas. The other initials could relate to those of her friends, classmates and, or teachers. Helen used fine, colourful wools for her cross stitch, and Algerian Eye stitch producing a neat and pleasing effect, which though slightly faded, remains in very good condition. Framed & glazed. £145
69 – Curnow – An impressive Sampler dated 1887, meticulously cross-stitched by Nellie Curnow in wool, which gives it a rather sumptuous effect – especially the large bowl of flowers. It was made during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Year, but as well as featuring crowns and stars, Nellie chose to include Paul Pry, a character invented by John Poole for his comedy of the same name, introduced on stage in 1825 by the leading comic actor, John Liston. Paul Pry caught the public’s imagination, remaining popular, and being revived as late as the 1890’s. Several porcelain factories produced figures of him. Nellie was probably the sixth child of James W Curnow and his wife, Elizabeth. The family lived at Mawgan in Menage, in Cornwall, where James worked as a cordwainer. Nellie was already attending school when the 1881 census was prepared – she was four years old. This sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto raw silk, before being framed and glazed. £325
114a – Curtis – This unusual Sampler, within its period birds eye maple frame, was sewn by Mary Ann Curtis in 1841. She used a single weave canvas as the ground for her wool-work embroidery in a variation of Oblique Gobelin stitch to create attractive floral borders in the ‘Berlin’ style, with the inclusion at the top, of an exotic bird (its beak defined in Petit Point), and at the centre bottom, a Chapel on a hillside, surrounded by trees, and a girl in a red skirt walking towards the Cross in the foreground. The rhyme, sewn in extremely fine Cross stitch is entitled ‘The Sampler’.
138 – Faulknor / Faulkner – An attractive and finely embroidered Sampler inscribed “Francis Faulknor born December 16 1811″, worked in coloured silks on a pale ground. A number of motifs including animals, birds, flowering plants & a small ornate building surround a verse, all sewn in minute cross stitch and enclosed within a birds eye maple frame. £525
163 Hannah Fielden sewed her Sampler when she was 12 years old in 1837 using some unusual features – such as her ‘wider than normal’ border which consists of a continuous trailing branch of realistic rosebuds. A morality rhyme is positioned between floral motifs, also worked to a more realistic design than the usual ‘geometric’ flowers found on Samplers. A house, with its brickwork cleverly delineated, is embroidered at the bottom – perhaps representing Hannah’s home or school. A very attractive piece, worked in cross stitch, with a little tent stitch – in excellent condition, in a frame which compliments the colours of the embroidery to perfection. £595
119b – Mary Frances Hatton was only 10 years old when she completed her Sampler in 1823. Mainly embroidered in exquisitely tiny cross-stitch, she enhanced some areas with satin stitch. Mary must have enjoyed sewing, because she filled her fabric with as many motifs as she could (to include 21 birds – of various breeds such as owls, peacock, pigeon and 3 buildings – possibly garden features on a Family Estate). She chose a verse seen on a number of other samplers. This Sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto natural unbleached Irish linen, before being framed and glazed. £645
109 – Elizabeth Hummerston embroidered her beautiful Sampler at the age of just 9 years. She didn’t put the date on it, but from the fine pale woollen tammy cloth, and the design of the embroidery, it can be dated to the early years of the 1800’s. Elizabeth sewed minute cross stitches using silks which have retained their vibrant shades – making this such an attractive Sampler. This Sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto fine muslin which has been backed by conservation grade mount board before being placed in the period birds-eye maple frame. £585
99 – Elizabeth Lawton finished this large complicated Sampler at the unbelievably early age of 10 years, showing the high standards which were achieved by young children, and not only her skill with the needle, but sense of design, ability to count the minute threads (necessary to fit all the features symmetrically within the carnation border) and above all, patience! Worked with a mixture of geometric and realistic designs (note the small birds flying above the temple) in fine, coloured threads, almost entirely in cross stitch – but with an eye-catching central band of satin stitch depicting the garden in front of The Temple of Solomon. Elizabeth did not date her work, but depictions of the Temple of Solomon on Samplers seems to have been a popular subject between 1815 & 1840, and the two styles of script she has used were also prevalent during this period. Similar roses & diamonds were worked on Samplers of the late 1830’s. The faux rosewood and gilt frame has been dated to the 1840’s, and is possibly the frame made for this Sampler at the time Elizabeth finished it. It must have made a very impressive feature for her proud parents to display. £445
243 “E L” – A “Band” Sampler made during the 1600’s, probably between 1650 and 1700 as an example of the complicated patterns of embroidery to be used on domestic items and clothes. This Sampler would not have been sewn to be displayed on the wall, as the later ones were – it would have been kept rolled up in a coffer, or work box, to be consulted when a new piece of household linen, to be embellished with embroidery, was commenced. Many Samplers sewn during the 17th century do not bear a name or date. This Sampler is finished with the initials “E L” and may well have been marked by the owner as a way of distinguishing it from her sisters’ work. There are, however, some dated examples in the Victoria & Albert Museum and some of the wider bands on this Sampler can be compared with those, showing that the basic patterns had been copied from printed books. (The narrow bands seem to be more individual.) For example, in the upper section of the Sampler which is sewn with silks using Double Running, Satin, a variation of Montenegrin Cross & Long Armed Cross stitches – the 3rd down ‘wide’ band is very similar to that by Mildred Mayow in 1633 (V&A) the difference being that Mildred put a square rather than a cross in the centre of each 4 petal flower,
– the 4th down ‘wide’ band (bunches of grapes & vine leaves) is identical to that by Mary Burrowes in 1656 (V&A) – which also has a band very similar to the top ‘wide’ band of this Sampler,
– the widest & lowest band in the silk section is the same as one on an un-named Sampler dated 1657 in the Swamethan Collection, and very similar to that of Elizabeth Mackett dated 1696 (V&A).
The lower section in white linen thread sewn in blocks of satin stitch & double running stitch mimics Damask cloth which was so expensive to import during the 17th century. The top white work band has the same design as one on Margreet May’s 1654 (V&A) and is followed by a band to the same design as one on a German Sampler of 1618 (V&A).
This Sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto natural linen which has been backed by museum quality mount board before being framed. £1995
112a – Millner – The skill that 10 year old Sarah Millner demonstrated with her needle has to be seen to be believed. This Sampler, sewn on a fine pale woollen cloth was finished in 1794, and time has not looked after it too well. There are a number of moth holes, and other damage to the edges, and the once bright silks have faded – but for all that, it has a beauty of its own. The border is different from any I’ve previously seen – being a straight row of perfect satin stitches in green, forming a ‘stem’, with attached small pink buds, and leaves. Her finely embroidered alphabets and numerals are in both Algerian Eye and cross stitch, underlined with a band of closely worked Algerian Eyes (another unusual feature). The Lords Prayer is underlined by another satin stitch row and followed by motifs sewn in minute cross stitch. Below are three separate homilies, edged with painstakingly worked flowering plants and birds. This sampler has been hand-sewn onto raw silk and mounted on Museum quality board, before being framed and glazed. £445
244 Ross, Emma Mercy – A very unusual and individual beadwork “Sampler” entitled A Mother’s Prayer in the form of an acrostic. The tiny glass beads [green for the patterned border and red for the poem] are sewn onto fine Bristol Board. This appears to have been worked by Emma Ross in 1860 and it relates to her new baby daughter Emma Mercy. It includes a number of spelling mistakes, which adds to its charm, but the initial letter of each line of the poem spells out her baby’s name. A little research on the internet shows that Emma Mercy Ross birth was registered in Kensington in 1860. By the time of the 1881 census her father had died, but she was living with her mother and some of her siblings in New Road Cottage, Kingston upon Thames. The census shows Emma Ross then aged 45 was born in Harrow and that Emma Mercy was born in Paddington. Her siblings shown are Arthur Herbert Ross, age 13, Naomi Beatrice Ross, age 12, Nina Alice Ross, age 10 – all born in Kensington and Milly Jessie Ross, age 8, born in Kingston. Note: this information has not been verified with the parish registers. N.B. A piece of brown parcel wrapping paper glued over the back of the frame is addressed to “Mrs Mills, 1 Rose Villas, Billinshurst, Sussex”, the postmark is illegible but it franked a stamp of George VI. This beadwork is in its original frame. £255
88 – Part – This sampler by Elizabeth Part was once amongst Anne Sebba’s collection. (Anne was the author of ‘Samplers, Five Centuries of a Gentle Art’). Elizabeth sewed it when she was just 9 years old, in 1803, using cross stitch on a fairly closely tabby woven cloth, which would have made the counting of the threads quite a challenge – but she took extreme care, especially as it is composed almost entirely of writing, with a small selection from the standard sampler motifs embroidered down each side. Framed & glazed. £395
245a – Scanlon, Mary – Rathcormac School, Castletown. An unusual blackwork Sampler of large proportions, sewn mainly in Cross Stitch by Mary Scanlon in 1865. A double wave border surrounds alphabets & numerals worked in several fancy styles of lettering above a number of Christian symbols including a centrally positioned IHS in which the bar above the “H”, signifying the elision, has been depicted as a Latin Cross. Framed & glazed.
124 – Seaton – It is not just the shape of Sarah Seaton‘s attractive Sampler dated 1815 which is unusual – but also the method of her embroidery. Her floral and ribbon border and the boughs beneath the verse appear to be mainly of tambour work (a chain stitch made by using a special hook, which was introduced to Europe from the Orient late in the 17th century and became very popular for use on fine muslins.) Sarah positioned the usual type of cross-stitched sampler motifs symmetrically, but also included a large central pineapple (representing hospitality) , flanked by a very realistic stag, and spaniel embroidered in minute petit point. In period birds eye maple frame. £535
114b – Steelfox – A large George IV Sampler in excellent condition, meticulously worked by Mary Steelfox in 1826 in cross stitch, using silk threads on a linen ground. The verse surrounded by a floral border and a number of motifs, including Adam & Eve with the Serpent coiled around the Tree of Knowledge, Solomon’s Temple, a house and other buildings – one possibly representing Mary’s school. Flowers, birds and bowls of fruit are also featured. This Sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto pure unbleached linen, before being framed and glazed. £915
82 – Summers – An attractive William IV Sampler worked in Algerian eye and cross stitch in fine silks by Sarah Summers, with the date 1832 in both Roman and Arabic Numerals. In addition to the alphabet, she embroidered the first three verses of Psalm I above a pretty floral band probably representing honeysuckle. Framed & glazed. £355
152c – Taylor – An early 19th century Sampler worked by Georgina Taylor. Sewn in fine woollen threads, much of it is embroidered in cross stitch, but with some eye-catching Algerian Eye stitch for the alphabet worked as capital letters. The colour scheme and style of embroidery of this Sampler has a Scottish ‘feel’ to it. This Sampler has been conserved by being hand sewn onto natural linen which has been backed with conservation grade mount board before being replaced in its frame. £115
83 – Tyson – A George III Sampler by Mary Tyson, finished 29th August 1809. Worked in colourful fine wools on a medium linen ground, with alphabets and numerals and trailing floral bands above the motto “Learn to live as you would wish to die” all embroidered in tiny cross stitch. Framed & glazed.
102 – Naomi Wilkin sewed her very fine Sampler in 1837, at the age of 14, filling almost every available space with motifs – so many that you seem to see another each time you look at it – and so it is likely that she enjoyed her embroidery rather than doing at as a chore. It is symmetrically planned and beautifully sewn in miniscule cross stitch using brightly coloured threads. Her short verse is probably a reference to the ever present threat of the death of young children in England at that time. Framed & glazed.
almost, but not quite, symmetrical, and leaving no spaces. Using muted coloured silks and just cross stitch, she nevertheless created different textures by the alteration in the spacing of the stitches, and the mingling of shades. The quality of her embroidery was superior to that of her spelling. This sampler, which has remained in excellent condition, has been edged with lace before being framed and glazed. £665
79 – Unknown – A beautiful example of one of the much sought after “Adam and Eve” Samplers worked with silk in delicate cross stitch on fine cloth. One is forced to wonder what stopped the girl who embroidered this Sampler so exquisitely, from finishing it. It was obviously treasured, and has remained in good condition, retaining the original bright colours in which it was sewn. Unfortunately, we will never know her name. From the fabric, and style of fine sewing, it would appear to date from the late Georgian period. The figures of Adam and Eve, the Serpent around the Tree, the flower urns and the surrounding strawberry border being worked to an almost identical design as another Sampler bearing the date ‘1819’. Remaining in its original frame. £535
70 – Early C19th oval Needlework Picture of a classical maiden kneeling beneath a tree & holding a sheaf of corn, set in an open landscape. Hand embroidered in wool on a silk ground, with painted facial & sky details. Framed & glazed. £225