For auction on 1 & 2 September at Chorley's Auctioneers & Valuers, Gloucester, is this fine Ackworth School medallion needlework sampler by Mehetabel Smith dated 1804. Mehetabel, from Theberton in Suffolk, is registered as being at Ackworth School between 1799 and 1806 which makes it seem likely she continued as an apprentice teacher in the school. Also arriving with her in 1799, was her sister, Sarah. The tragedy is that Sarah died that same year in school. Epidemics are known to have occurred at Ackworth school and if there can be a brighter side to any tragedy it is this, perhaps a smaller percentage of children died in the school during these epidemics than in the population at large as local cemetries testify. And this is probably the reason why so many girlhood samplers have doom-laden verses, because children did die and frequently. My own family has recorded many child deaths owing to diphtheria and scarlatina, to the extent that when my grandmother's only daughter died as an infant, she swore there would be no more males in the family - and that was the case for all her sons' children.
Combined with this lot - 627 - is a small sampler of numbers and alphabet by Phillis Marsh and the estimate for both is £80 - £100. PLEASE NOTE REGISTRATION FOR THIS SALE ENDS AT 9am BST 1st September. For more details and how to register, click here.