This sampler is described as a cushion-top sampler. This is a term that is quite new to me, but maybe you have heard of it before and I'd like to hear from you if you have. Within the pretty floral border is very special needlework describing the Principality of Wales. It was worked by Catherine Roberts and has a diameter of 14 inches. It is hard for me to look at this and not see a square format that has been cut down - perhaps to provide a decorative cushion at some later date. And if this is the case, then one needs to ask, though perhaps there is no-one left now to answer, was this a widespread fashion and how many samplers were so repurposed?
It is a salutory thought that for every sampler we see intact after decades, if not hundreds of years, there were many that just did not make it. It would seem that Sarah Bird's sampler of 1798, stitched when she was 11, is in a near terminal situation and may not last many more years without some very special intervention. At least we have images of these two. So every time we rejoice in a beautiful sampler, maybe we should spare a thought for the girls' samplers that didn't make it.