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Stories Behind the Stitches: Schoolgirl Samplers of the 18th and 19th Centuries

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Leena Rana.

This presentation examines eight English samplers in the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection made by schoolgirls from poor or modest backgrounds in the 18th and 19th centuries. The inscriptions not only include the makers’ name, age, year and moral text, but also the school in which the girls received their education. The eight examples in this exhibition provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, and can illuminate the life experiences of these young stitchers. In some cases scant information exists on the girls and these school room objects are the only proof of their existence. Nevertheless, their needlework serves as a testament to their patience and skill, and are invaluable historical documents that can tell us personal stories about the girls who made these classroom items.

This talk is part of the Stories Behind the Stitches: Schoolgirl Samplers of the 18th and 19th Centuries series.

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