Lydia Sheldrake, Lord Mayor’s Day,

Lydia Sheldrake, Lord Mayor’s Day,

Epsom, Middlesex, England, 1898

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sampler size: 7¼" x 17½" • framed size: 10½" x 21" • sold

There is notable tradition of honoring British historical events and British holidays on schoolgirl samplers and this continued throughout the 19th century. One particular holiday, Lord Mayor’s Day, has been celebrated on November 9 (in 1959 the celebration was officially moved to the second Saturday in November) since 1215 when King John granted a charter allowing the citizens of London to elect their own mayor. The caveat was and remains that the new Mayor must travel from the City to Westminster to be presented to the Crown, and this parade became a great event. Marked by much pageantry and lavish celebration, it often included decorated boats and barges on the Thames. In 1897 a newly made replica of the elaborately gold-decorated mid-18th century carriage made its debut, thus the 1897 parade was a particularly special one.

Lydia Sheldrake was born in 1886 to Henry Buxton Sheldrake and his wife, Harriet Gibbs. She was the youngest of their nine children. Henry, a land agent, and Harriet were married in 1872 in Westminster, London and the family must have maintained ties to the City although they lived in Epsom, Surrey – about 17 miles south of Westminster. We can picture the Sheldrake family traveling to see the grand festivities with the new gilded carriage in the parade in November 1897. Lydia then noted the day on her sampler made in July of the following year.

Her sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a 19th century maple frame with a gilt liner

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