Sampler exhibition in Cambridge

Having some time off on a Bank holiday weekend is a thing of pleasure.  So when I get one I like to make the most of it, especially when the weather promises to be good. Never one to miss out on a good exhibition I bundled Paul into my little Fiat with the promise of lunch and a beer and we headed south to Cambridge. My friend Patr had mentioned an exhibition of Samplers at the Fitzwilliam museum so I just had to check it out.

I have to say it was well worth the stress (and fee) of parking. There were over a hundred embroidered samplers from the museum's collection. There is a great selection from the 1600s onwards,  with interesting notes on styles, meaning and historical context.

Early samplers were worked in bands.
This whitework band sampler is dated 1663 and has the initials 'DB' embroidered on it. Who was DB I wonder?

Here is some of the needlelace cutwork on the sampler. There is a supply of magnifying glasses in the exhibition so you can really get up close to the detail. Samplers were usually worked by girls and young ladies. What skills!
By the 18th century, girls were encouraged to display their numeracy and literacy by including it in their designs.
 This one was dated 1802 and is worked by Mary Ann Crouzet as stated at the top of the piece. This is all done in cross stitch and includes a small amount of gold thread too. The work is exquisite.

I loved the pieces with motifs in it.
This was created by 15 year old Sarah Williamson in 1795. I would have been thrilled to have created something of such beauty at that age.
Not all the pieces were traditional wall hangings. There are a couple of bags included too.
This one is beautifully beaded and doesn't look 380 years old! 

Another stunning bag from the 17th century. 
A stunning pocket sampler from 1844 by Sarah Roberts.

Here are a few more pics.
Susanna Gellett in 1800.

Dorcas Haynes in 1720
M Quertier in 1799.
There was a very touching line in the notes on the wall. "For many a woman of the past, the sampler that she stitched in her youth is often the only record if her existance."  Very poignant. 

This is just a little taste of the wonders there are on display. If you get the chance, then pay it a visit before it finished in 2018.

1 comment

  1. what a treat to see these amazing old embroideries etc. Thanks for sharing


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