Mermaids figure frequently on early samplers. Some say that with their mirror and comb they symbolize vanity. Others would say that in the early 17th century, during the discovery and expansion of maritime trading routes (and until very recently), mermaids were believed to exist and were as exotic as camels, giraffes and elephants which also appear on early needlework. As you can see, mermaids are not confined to stitched works, this mermaid is part of an elaborate plaster ceiling made in 1667, and decorated a house in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It can now be seen in the Bankfield Museum, Halifax.