Sarah Batt,

Sarah Batt,

Ackworth School, Yorkshire, England, 1821

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sampler size: 12½" x 12¾" • framed size: 14¾” x 15” • sold

The Ackworth School was founded in 1779 in northern England, with the purpose of providing an education for Quaker children from less affluent families; it was expected that both male and female students would receive an academic education as well as skills that could help them find work after they left the school. The girls learned needlework, both plain sewing and finer skills, and many of the Ackworth school sampler patterns became hallmarks of excellent samplermaking throughout England and the United States. Carol Humphrey’s book, Quaker School Girl Samplers from Ackworth (Needleprint, 2006), is an important source regarding the school and samplers made there.

Ackworth samplers are amongst the most sought after of all English schoolgirl needlework and we are delighted to offer this outstanding example, a very beautiful and finely worked geometric medallion sampler, made in 1821 by Sarah Batt. This is a particularly sophisticated type of sampler that was developed at the Ackworth School - these samplers featured many interesting and complex full and half medallion motifs, some highly stylized, enclosing swans, birds or flowers. Some Ackworth girls who made these samplers also filled the areas between the medallions with classic Quaker motifs. The aphorisms, "Tho absent yet beloved" and "A token of love" are well documented on Ackworth samplers. One motif that appears on this sampler is not generally found - that of a little anchor with letters spelling "HOPE," which was worked to the far left of the maker’s name and date.

The Ackworth School archives confirm that Sarah entered the school in 1819 and remained a student there until 1823; her older brother Richard was a student there from 1819 to 1821. This sampler, worked in 1821, may have been sent home with Richard as an example of Sarah's ongoing accomplishments in the needle arts.

Sarah was born on June 3, 1809 to William and Mary (Lamley) Batt of Reading who were married in 1805 in a Quaker ceremony. Their marriage license lists William as a “tanner” of Maidenhead, Berks, England. The couple raised their family in Maidenhead, Berkshire until they removed to the Religious Society of Friends’ Sidcot School in Windscombe, Somerset, where they both worked as the superintendents from 1821 to 1839. Sarah married Barton Dell (1807-1886) who worked as a Master at Sidcot School for 18 years. Barton authored many books including, The Elements of English Grammar Designed For the Use of Teacherswho are the Advocates of Verbal Instruction (1831) and A Geographical Summary … of the Principal Objects on the Globe (1834). Sarah died in 1890 at age 80.

Worked in silk on wool, the sampler is in excellent condition and it has been conservation mounted into a black painted and molded frame.


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