Mary Hales 1733
Linen: 35- or 40- Count Unbleached
Finished Size: 16 1/4″ x 32″ or 14 1/4″x27 3/4″
This English sampler features two pairs of human figures worked in brightly colored silks on age-darkened linen, using cross, eyelet, satin, and gobelin stitches. Contrary to its rather stark, open design, the sampler has quite a tale to tell, the significance of which is concealed in the tiny details that could so easily be overlooked. Research into the origins of the sampler has revealed that Mary Hales was the daughter of Stephen Hales (1677-1761) who, among other things, was Clerk of the Closet to the Princess-Dowager, wife of Frederick Louis, Prince of Wales (1707-1751). Wales died from the effects of a blow to the head by a tennis ball. He had been carrying on a long time love affair with an anonymous lady, which had not escaped the attention of his wife, and hence her clerk Stephen Hales, who probably passed the gossip along to his family. Note the crowned figure at the center, the initial P and W (Prince of Wales): and the images of two lovers in the lower register, the gentleman passing a heart to his lady. Of course, there is no absolute proof that this tale is true, but it makes for interesting speculation whilst stitching! This sampler could easily be adapted as a wedding or anniversary sampler.