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Witney Antiques Annual Textile Exhibition. Historic Samplers

Changing Styles

The Eighteenth Century - One Hundred Years of Sampler Making

Sat 6th - Sat 27th October 2007

Exhibition Preview

Click on pictures for enlarged image. Please contact the gallery for pricing

Mary Hornsby. 1798.

An accomplished and beautiful sampler composed of four conventional and precisely worked cross shaped darns of different woven designs. The deliberately contrasting coloured silks chosen to show clearly the intricate work against the fine gauze or tiffany ground fabric.

Sarah Lindoe. 1740

This graceful embroidery is in the tradition of crewel work hangings of the period which were influenced by imports of painted cloths from India. Beautifully shaded curling leaves and blossoms spring on arching stems from a basket attracting small insects. The whole composition attractively balanced with weight to the base of the design which tapers up to a single flower head.

Mary Flack.
'Her Work September The 17th. Anno Domini 1724'

A well composed sampler of band form with a moralistic text within a rectangle, each word embroidered in different coloured silks. Stylised flowers form a border which is surmounted by a pair of inward facing large green and red parrots who appear to be balancing over sized crowns on their heads.
Worked on loosely woven unbleached linen canvas with coloured silks. Cross and eyelet stitch.

Framed Size. 46 x 26 cms (18 x 10 ins.)

Mary Anne Reynolds

The sampler reflects the increasing geographical knowledge of the English in the 18th century and reveals a broadening of the world with which English students and literate society were expected to be familiar. As travel, exploration and the spread of colonialism increased, the teaching of geography in schools became increasingly common. This fashion enabled the teacher and pupil to display their geographical knowledge at the same time as showing outstanding needlework skills, and as such were often worked as a finale to an expensive private education.
Worked on fine linen with black and coloured silks. Probably worked on a ready printed background.

April Martha C London 173.
Circa 1730.

Worked in minute tent stitch with coloured silks and metallic thread high lights , the whole of the canvas has been painstakingly and tightly stitched. This unusual feature requires great skill, particularly with regard to the lettering which has been very clearly worked against the deep blue ground.
On this sampler the traditionally dressed Moses and Aaron are placed upon large carved stone columns set on a chequered marble floor. Deep red fringed curtains, elaborately arranged and secured with metallic ropes, frame the top of the composition, giving a deliberately theatrical appearance .
Contained in the original frame.

Framed Size: 43 x 53 cm (17 x 21 ins.)

Elizabeth Lauder.

This very finely worked sampler with long religious texts, demonstrates the zealous teachings and influence that such men as Isaac Watts and John Wesley held. Daily bible readings were the norm in many homes, schools and work places and this sampler could be regarded as an extention of this practice.
Stitches: cross, eyelet and satin. Coloured silks on a fine linen ground.

Framed Size: 41 x 41 cm (16 x 16 ins.)

Anon Sampler. Probably Scottish.
First Half 18th Century.

On looking at this sampler the eye is immediately drawn towards the centre where an amusing and naive figure of cupid, complete with rather over developed breasts catches the atttention. Otherwise the sampler is of standard band form contained within a geometric border of undulating flower heads.
Worked predominantly in shades of green and red coloured silks, the top section divides into two bands, one inscribed with The Lord's Prayer embroidered in alternating colours above a wide band of highly stylised carnation flower heads. The bottom half of the sampler also with a band of flower heads with twisted stems of the type frequently found on 17th century band samplers. This particular pattern continued to be used on Scottish samplers well into the 19th Century long after it had gone out of fashion in England.