Who? The Makers of the School Samplers

Mary Derow (b.1713), Jane Brady (1773-1832), Hannah Bowtell, Mary Culley, Catherine Cooks, Ann Calton (b.1820), Jane Reeder Cole and Mary Ann Tipper were born in different parts of the country and at different times during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but they all had something in common: sampler making.

Ann Calton, Mary Derow, Mary Culley and Jane Reeder Cole came from struggling families who could not support their daughters. I have yet to find out the backgrounds of the other girls. Needlework skills at least provided a way for the girls to better their position with the aim of finding employment. The school mistresses, who also seemed to be capable embroiderers, most likely provided the girls with a model sampler which their pupils copied from. But the girls would not have had the opportunity to be educated and to develop employable skills without the financial aid of patrons and subscribers who supported the education of poor children.


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University of Cambridge Museums

Archive of projects, events and news from 2012 to May 2017

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