Saturday, 4 September 2010

Quaker Sampler for Auction * Bellmans, West Sussex * 9 September 2010

Every so often when I look at sampler images, my heart goes into reverse and this was one of those images. To the left of this picture is a Quaker sampler by A Pollard. And what is so wonderful  is that it is unfinished. The stitcher has worked her way around the edges of her cloth, stitching half medallions in the style of Ackworth School - that is with the cut side of the medallion always being placed closest to the edge - unlike some other Quaker samplers which alternate the cut side of the medallion. Unfinished, it is already signed and dated! Given that no two Quaker samplers have been yet found which resemble each other closely, this marking might imply the samplers were kept in a common store and it was useful to have them identified for ease in giving out the work. Certainly the stitchers would have known their own work simply by sight. Or there may have been some other reason. Although the work is progressing around the edges, the centre has been located and is occupied by the well-known, four-part rosebud motif. To some extent this answers the question of whether the samplers were worked from the centre to the edges, or from the edges to centre - it was both together.  But more interesting than all these are the facts that the cut medallions continue within that outer border of medallions, and pots of flowers are worked in a contrary sense to the name and date, facts which, in spite of the Pollard name, lead me doubt that this A Pollard would be found in the Ackworth School register. And she isn't. There are Pollards at Ackworth School from Sale in Cheshire and Ackworth itself in the latter half of the 19th century, and a family which schooled four of its girls at Ackworth between 1828 and 1840 - this family is from Horsham,  just a short distance away from Billingshurst where this sampler is to be auctioned at Bellman's Auctioneers on 9 September. The lot which includes the three samplers shown is number 1999 and has an estimate of £40-£60. Don't forget that if you wish to bid, you need to contact the auctioneer in advance to register with them.

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  1. Thank you for posting about both the Ackworth and Vierlande unfinished samplers. It is interesting to see how these samplers were worked originally. I think I would have trouble working this way myself, but it opens up another way of thinking about the creative process. I'm learning to loosen up a bit while working on Sarah Harris, she certainly did not feel the need to be precise about colors and placement in her work.

  2. Thanks for the continued auction info that you share with us!