Now Whilst My Hands Are Thus Employed
Three Centuries Of Historic Samplers

Witney Antiques

Now Whilst My Hands Are Thus Employed

As in previous exhibitions held by Witney Antiques this collection of samplers looks into the legacy left by long forgotten school girls and their talented teachers. These exquisite pieces of childhood needlework come from all levels of society, from the affluent to the disadvantaged poor and the institutionalised orphan. They were worked and come from all corners of the British Isles.

Samplers were an important aspect in the education of young females, not only teaching them different stitch techniques necessary for the mending and marking of household linen but formed a means of inculcating the mind of the young embroiderer with morals, truthfulness and the obedience expected of the female sex through both childhood and adult life. The sampler by Eleanor Thompson 1756 with it's dire warnings would surely strike fear into the heart of any child.

Then let me always watch my lips lest I be stuck to Death and Hell,
Since God a book of reckoning Keeps For every Lye that Children tell.

The title of the exhibition "Now While My hands Are Thus Employed" attests to the fact that the sampler also provided an occupation which banished idleness as well as being a means of instruction in literature, geography in the embroidering of maps, mathematics and even the sciences. The earliest samplers in the exhibition date from the second half of the 17th Century from where they progress through the 18th and into the 19th Century encompassing around three hundred years; the styles changing along with attitudes to education and the aspirations of the society in which they were created.

Witney Antiques exhibition catalogue, superbly illustrated in full color, 72 pages. $32.00

Price: $32.00