Embroidery Samplers

We’ve got past the stage of having to surprise each other with presents, and I’m one of those strange people for whom the words nice and surprise just don’t go together, because I really don’t like surprises as a rule.

Nor do I really need anything, plus I’m supposed to be getting rid of ‘stuff’ – not accumulating more, but we made the fatal step of going to the antiques fair at Ingliston, just outside Edinburgh, in November and I ended up buying THREE old samplers. Well I couldn’t resist them as they were all such bargains, if you really want to know – the two end ones were £20 each and the middle one was £24. They would have cost much nore on Ebay. Anyway, I said to Jack they would be nice to have for Christmas so he bought them!

Embroidery samplers

At first I wasn’t sure about the age of the middle one as it seems so bright but it is really an old one and the 76 must refer to 1876. It’s made of wool rather than the more common silks and is typical of the designs found on Scottish band samplers, which were never meant to be framed, but just rolled up and kept in your work basket for reference purposes.

It’s such a pity that the names on them are so common, Ann Grey and Brown would you believe, and one doesn’t have names, just initials and a date. The left hand one has a frame from about the 1950s but the others are Victorian. You can’t really tell from the photos but they are very old and the linen is fragile looking but they are in very good condition considering their age.

I was lucky enough to inherit a band sampler from a great aunt a few years ago. It had been worked by her great grandmother, according to the wee note which was with it, it wasn’t framed as it is a band sampler but I took it to a framer and they put it in a simple frame such as was used in Victorian times and I have the original explanatory note attached to the back of it. I didn’t see the point of keeping the embroidery in a drawer unseen but I’m careful to keep it out of strong light to preserve the colours. As you can see, it’s similar in design to the middle sampler but this one was stitched by Jean Barclay in 1837, or is it 73, she made a mistake and couldn’t quite fit it in properly, I bet she was mad about that!