100 Corn Street, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 6BU 01993 703902 07836 350351 Email


Visa and Mastercard accepted by telephone. If you require further information please email us.

Email us
Witney Antiques: Choice And Precious Work

'Choice And Precious Work'
Treasures From The Schoolroom 1650 - 1750

Priced at £35 + P&P
Witney Antiques: A Century of English Sampler Making

'I Write The Needles Praise'
A Century of English Sampler Making 1635 - 1730

Priced at £25 + P&P
Witney Antiques: The Educated Stitch Samplers

'The Educated Stitch'
Historic Samplers 1700 - 1900

Priced at £18 + P&P
Witney Antiques: Embroidered Lives

'Embroidered Lives and Family Threads'
Three Centuries of Historic Samplers

Priced at £18 + P&P
Historic Samplers

'What's in a Name?'
People and Places

Priced at £16 + P&P

This selection of samplers looks into the legacy left by now forgotten school girls and their teachers in attempting to peel back time, finding perhaps forgotten details of their daily lives and the places they lived. The samplers cut across all levels of society embracing the affluent and the poor, sometimes leading us into unexpected places. Who would suspect looking at Eliza Manley's sampler that her father was Portland, Massachusetts' first bank robber and that the Royal Freemason's School in 1789 should stipulate that amongst the requirements for entry the applicant must have already had cowpox or smallpox? Perhaps a wise precaution given the infectious nature and high mortality rate from the disease. In 1802 at an exceptionally young age of fourteen, Massey Gibbons married John Carpenter aged sixteen. This was just a year after she had worked her sampler, her childhood no doubt coming to an abrupt end. History has a habit of repeating itself as we see in a small rare sampler worked in 1845 featuring a list of the engagements between British and Afghan forces in 1842. Cabul, a familiar name to us, figuring on the 16th September 1842. We see the family register of the Chorlton Family. John and Alice, both unable to write, sign their names on the marriage certificate with a cross. The sampler brings home the high rate of infant mortality past generations suffered, six of the Chorlton's ten children dying before they were six years of age.

For Pleasure and Ornament

'For Pleasure and Ornament'
Art Treasures of English Domestic Embroidery 1580 - 1835

Priced at £16 + P&P

This catalogue depicts some rare and iconic examples of the embroiderers art. Many of the items having been in well known collections and exhibited at major exhibitions. Others have been the subject of scholarly articles or illustrated in such books as Domestic Needlework by Seligman and Hughes, The Collection of Judge Irwin Untermyer or the Landsdowne House Catalogue of the Exhibition of Decorative Art at Lansdowne House February 1929. We have also included some unrecorded samplers which range from a superb group of three remarkable architectural samplers worked at Stickney School in Leicestershire to a delightful small orphanage pocket sampler of the finest workmanship.

Wrought with the Needle

'Wrought with the Needle'
Art Treasures of English Domestic Embroidery Elizabeth I to George II

Priced at £12 + P&P

This catalogue depicts some of the finest Elizabethan needlework which in fine condition is extremely rare, it includes an embroidered gentleman's cap from Stanford Hall, the ancestral home of Sir Thomas Cave who helped defend the Manor House and Church against the Parliamentarians at the time of the Battle of Naseby, a rare bodice panel and, of particular interest, an exquisite folio cover embroidered in silk, metallic threads and spangles on an ivory silk ground with beautifully worked images of small animals, insects and flowers, typical of the Elizabethan period. From the mid 17th century are silk and raised works of exceptional and vibrant colour and feature a mirror decorated with Royal figures, Charles II wearing a cloak composed of hundreds of minute feathers. The 'Wilby House Casket', also depicted, is one of the finest and most colourful to have come onto the market in recent years. And, of exceptional rarity, is a beadwork layette basket inscribed 'Mary Baker Her Basket 1670', the only known named and dated example also a group of attractive tent stitch embroideries and rare band samplers. The tradition of remarkable standards of needlework during the 16th and 17th centuries continued into the 18th century and embroideries from this period were also worked with exceptional skill and the subsequent quality and attention to detail can be breathtaking. The embroideries in this catalogue illustrate why British work, costly to produce and greatly valued, was so highly regarded in Europe and considered as amongst the very best.

Tis Education Form The Common Mind

'Tis Education Forms The Common Mind'
Schools, Scholars and Seminaries.

Priced at £18 + P&P

A vital part of a young girls education was sewing and, through the needle feminine virtues were impressed on the young mind. Whilst many samplers remain, the teachers of the young embroiderers, many anonymous, are sadly long forgotten. Where possible, we have tried to link groups of samplers together. In some cases we have added to groups which are already known and have illustrated in this catalogue newly discovered and previously unrecorded examples.

Friends: A Common Thread

Friends. A Common Thread. Samplers with a Quaker Connection.

Author: Carol Humphrey, Honory Keeper of Textiles, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Priced at £18 + P&P

This catalogue is intended as a guide based on a group of samplers tracing the influence of Quaker practises and religious beliefs on the education of our forebears, Quaker or otherwise. The spread of these influences from one continent to another not only enriching education but helping to bring about enormous social and in some cases political change, in the days before modern communication and mass travel. Charting both family histories and the relationships between the wider family of Quakers and society in general , the study of needlework can act as a primary source as well as an important historical ad social record.

Changing Styles: The Eighteenth Century. One Hundred Years of Sampler Making

Priced at £15 + P&P

The style of English samplers evolved slowly throughout the eighteenth entury. This catalogue charts this development from the emerging importance of women's literacy, the influence of moral excellence on young minds, the period of pastoral sampler making and the growth in needle arts practised in fashionable boarding school for yong ladies. Illustrated in full colour, with many previously unrecorded samplers, the catalogue contains a very rare and unique group of eight Scottish family samplers spanning a period of some forty years.

Samplers Mapped and Charted

Priced at £15 + P&P

This catalogue focuses on map samplers from, we believe, the first such exhibition to have been held. Until relatively recently map samplers were often regarded as ‘curiosities’, their significance remaining largely unrecognised. The catalogue, we hope, will go some way to correcting this error. There are illustrations of the more frequently seen embroidered maps of England and Wales, as well of rare county maps. Maps of Spain, Ireland, Palestine, France and Europe are illustrated and also double globe World maps of the Northern and Southern hemispheres and other remarkable examples of embroidery, including an unusual farm map and a war map.

On This Fair Sampler Does My Needle Write

Priced at £15 + P&P

Featuring the inclusion of a number of samplers from the important collection formed by Emma- Henriette Schiff von Suvero during the early years of the last century. At the outbreak of World War II this unique collection was acquired by the German Government and given to the Staatlich Kunstgewerbemuseum, Vienna. Here the items were carefully stored until Spring 2003, when restitution was made by the Austrian Government and the collection dispersed. Both English and Continental samplers are illustrated and include rare examples dating from the 17th Century to the early 19th Century. All items are photographed with many close up images and a well researched text.

An Exceptional Endeavour

Priced at £12 + P&P

This catalogue reflect the long tradition of both professional and domestic embroidery in Scotland. Some samplers name the town in which they were worked - Montrose, Edinburgh, Govan, Musselburgh etc. Other samplers are identified as Scottish through elements in their design or text influenced by popular literature. The magnificent Lennoxlove bedhangings illustrate the wealth of the landowning gentry in Scotland during the 17th and 18th centuries. To form a comparison to their Scottish counterparts some interesting English samplers from the 18th and 19th centuries have also been included.

Diligence, Industry and Virtue

Priced at £12 + P&P

The title of this catalogue takes us beyond the purely pictorial appeal of needlework and into three hundred years of social history reflecting the perceived feminine ideals taught from early childhood. Many of the verses recorded on samplers are designed to inculcate these ideals. The earliest needlework examples illustrated date from the 17th century, and span over two hundred years of sampler making. Including rare punishment needleworks and a series of three samplers with 'The Golden Verses of Pythagoras'.

When This You See Remember Me

Priced at £12 + P&P

The needleworks featured in this booklet were intended to be given as gifts, to record friendships or commemorate family events. The title was itself taken from a sampler worked by Charlotte Malpas in 1834. The catalogue features many needleworks including a rare embroidered letter, collections of needlework specimens, miniature dresses and a hair sampler presented to a Prison Governor by an inmate as well as many other evocative and poignant pieces.

Paradise Revisited

Priced at £12 + P&P

There must surely be no earlier craft than that of needlework, for in the third chapter of Genesis we read that Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together and made for themselves aprons.... This publication from Witney Antiques explores the Garden of Delights with all manner of plants and creatures as well as the arcadian lifestyle to which 18th century English society aspired. Paradise Revisited features forty one colouful samplers and embroideries.

Upstairs Downstairs, Plain and Fancy

Priced at £12 + P&P

Exhibition Catalogue of British Samplers and Historic Embroideries from 1590 to 1880. Featuring needleworks made at all levels of society, from grand houses to orphanages. Fifty-three examples of plain and decorative work illustrated in colour, including full page plates and detailed enlargements.

How Fragrant the Rose

Priced at £10 + P&P

Samplers and Embroideries from 1650 to 1850. The English love of flowers is reflected in the outstanding embroideries which featured in this exhibition. Forty-five needleworks illustrated in colour.

Samplers, Town and Country

Priced at £10 + P&P

A collection of fine antique needlework samplers naming the cities, towns and villages in which they were worked. Including a group of rare map samplers. Forty-seven samplers illustrated in colour.

All Creatures Great and Small

Priced at £8 + P&P

Thirty eight samplers dating from 1625 to 1889 depicting animals, birds and insects. The title of this collection comes from a traditional hymn reflecting the strong influence of religion in needlework throughout this period. However, as illustrated, there are very many other aesthetic and symbolic uses for which animal imagery serves. Colour illustrations and numerous enlargements throughout.

Samplers, House and Garden

Out of Print

Invite a child to pick up a pen or paper and they may well depict their home. Houses and gardens have always been a rich source of creative inspiration and were an important subject for antique samplers. This catalogue features thirty two fine examples all illustrated in colour.

An Invitation to Tea

Priced at £12 + P&P

The catalogue from Witney Antiques ‘Exhibition of Antique related Tea Equipage’. From the first account of the sale of tea in 1665 through the high point of the tea industry in England to the mid nineteenth century. Featuring metalware, tea chests, caddies and ceramic artifacts. Authoritative texts by eminent specialists with over a hundred illustrations and photographs in colour and black and white.