c1780 Sarah Moor’s English sampler with verses


Sarah Moore was likely only 10 or 12 years old when she worked her exceptional sampler; the color palette is muted and sophisticated, as is the rather modern design. Fine silk floss was used throughout and the cross stitches are quite small, about  20-22 per inch. “Sarah Moor her sampler Waf (Was) born September the 10 1770” is stitched beneath the central flower basket. The archaic long-form “f” (instead of the letter “s”) is used throughout, and the letter “w” also has an atypical formation. While cross stitches are the only stitches used, the varying thickness of some of the silks create an impression of textured embroidery in some motifs. The sophisticated style and arrangement is unusual for a “schoolgirl” sampler.

The sampler features several verses worked over single thread intersections. Across the top: “Oh What bosom but must Yeld (yield) When Like Pallis (Pallas) You Advance With A thimble for Your shield And A needle for Your lance Fairest of the stitching train ease my Passion by Your art and in Pity to my Pain Mend the hole thats in my heart”. Bottom left: “the Winter tree resembles mee (me) Whose sap lies in its Root the Spring draws nigh as it so high shall bud i hope and shoot”. Bottom right: “Only the action of the just smell sweet and blossoms in The dust”. There are numerous birds and crowns scattered among the floral motifs.

It is mounted on the original wooden board with paper underneath; on the back is a label with lovely copperplate handwriting “Sampler Mr Wm Moore 24 St John’s Terrace Milfield.” There is wear and loss to the ground fabric along the edges but only a small portion of the stitching in the lower border has been affected. The rest of the sampler has a few very small holes but no stitch loss. A framer experienced in conservation mounting is recommended if you plan to have this framed; I can recommend a wonderful source for antique picture frames.

The sampler measures 13-3/4″ wide by 15-1/4″ high. It is unframed and will be shipped flat in a box. Shipping will be billed separately for customers outside of the US. A signature will be required at delivery.

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