Three Ackworth School Samplers,

Three Ackworth School Samplers,

Mary Sergeant, 1785 and 1786

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sampler sizes of each: 13¼” x 11½”, 9” x 9¼”, 14” x 11¾” • framed sizes of each, respectively: 14¾” x 13”, 10½” x 10¾”, 15½” x 13¼” • sold

The samplers worked at the Ackworth School, founded in 1779 in Yorkshire, England, are widely thought to be the finest of Quaker schoolgirl needlework. The excellent book, Quaker School Girl Samplers from Ackworth, by Carol Humphrey, Keeper of Textiles at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England, (Needleprint & Ackworth School Estates Limited, 2006) is an invaluable reference and a visual treat, providing in-depth information on the history of the school, the various types of samplers and the makers themselves. Ackworth samplers were worked with great precision and demonstrate unusual skills, both in their letter-perfect alphabets and verse and the darning techniques. As stated on the book jacket of Carol Humphrey’s book, “For many years, samplers made at the Ackworth School have been avidly sought after by collectors and lovers of needlework the world over.” We are pleased to be able to offer three samplers worked by one Ackworth student; these samplers have remained together since they were completed, 231 years ago.

The samplermaker, Mary Sergeant, entered Ackworth School as scholar #462 in 1782. She was a young Quaker girl, then 10 years old, from Malton, Yorkshire, the daughter of Daniel Sergeant; the family belonged to Monthly Meeting of Malton. Mary remained at Ackworth until 1786, sadly she died two years later, on July 27, 1788.

These three samplers are likely Mary’s complete needlework output. The darning sampler is dated 1785, the alphabet, ligature and aphorism sampler is undated and the verse sampler is dated 1786. Each is notable on its own but, of course, the fact that the three remain together holds its own appeal. While the samplers aren’t in the condition that we generally hold samplers to, the fact of the three of them allows a different standard. Each sampler has some loss and there are holes to the ground fabric. Please email or call us and we’ll send high resolution images of these samplers. 

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