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Not currently on display at the V&A

Sampler

1669 (dated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Martha Edlin worked a series of embroideries during her childhood that for 300 years were passed down through the female line in her family. Following the normal development of needlework skills in a young girl from a prosperous family in the mid-17th century, she worked a sampler in coloured silks at the age of eight, and this more complicated piece in whitework and cutwork at nine. By 1671, her eleventh year, she had embroidered the panels of an elaborate casket, and two years later a beadwork jewel case.The needlework skills she demonstrated in these pieces would be an important attribute in later life, both in the management of her household and the personal adornment of herself and her family.
read Embroidery – a history of needlework samplers Our collection includes over 700 needlework samplers ranging from as early as the 1400s, to pieces stitched in the 20th century. They offer a fascinating insight into the practice and teaching of an important domestic craft. Find out how the social and educational significance of samplers ...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen embroidered with silk and linen thread, and with cutwork
Brief Description
Linen sampler embroidered with silk and linen thread, made by Martha Edlin, England, dated 1669.
Physical Description
Band sampler embroidered on linen with silk and linen thread in satin stitch. Three different sized bands of geometrical whitework, and three bands of cutwork, and two of them incorporating S-shapes. 'ME' [for Martha Edlin] and the date '1669' are embroidered at the bottom edge.
Dimensions
  • Length: 38.1cm
  • Width: 23.5cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'16 ME 69' (Decoration embroidered in silk at lower end)
Credit line
Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund
Object history
Purchased. Registered File number 1989/1572.

Passed down through the female line (usually the eldest daughter in each generation) from the maker to the vendor.

Previously on loan to the V&A since 1927. Part of Lady Gerahty Loan and Lewis Loan. Related papers include NF for Lady Gerahty, NF for Gillian Lewis, 86/713, 89/1572.
Summary
Martha Edlin worked a series of embroideries during her childhood that for 300 years were passed down through the female line in her family. Following the normal development of needlework skills in a young girl from a prosperous family in the mid-17th century, she worked a sampler in coloured silks at the age of eight, and this more complicated piece in whitework and cutwork at nine. By 1671, her eleventh year, she had embroidered the panels of an elaborate casket, and two years later a beadwork jewel case.The needlework skills she demonstrated in these pieces would be an important attribute in later life, both in the management of her household and the personal adornment of herself and her family.
Bibliographic References
  • Ashton, Leigh. Martha Edlin: A Stuart Embroideress. Connoisseur. Vol. LXXXI pp.215-223
  • Browne, Clare and Jennifer Wearden, eds. Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 1851773096.
Collection
Accession Number
T.434-1990

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record createdJanuary 22, 1999
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