4th May 2022 – 10th December 2022

Quaker Samplers

Quaker Samplers

Our latest display highlighting the diverse range of sampler styles in our own archive collection, revealing the history of the Quaker sampler and its origins at Ackworth School.

Coming from the Latin ‘exemplum’ or ‘example’, the earliest samplers served as stitching aids without a cohesive overall design or pattern. Due to a lack of available printed patterns from which to work, needlewomen would copy a short stretch of any new stitches they came across onto their sampler, which then became their ever-growing reference guide.

By the 18th century, samplers had become a work to display rather than a reference piece and this new function was reflected in their new, squarer shape. With the founding of Ackworth school the sampler evolved again, into a needlework exercise for schoolgirls.