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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1835 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand embroidered in coloured silks on linen

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Beryl Tew

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A large number of English and American samplers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries include lines from the Bible, Isaac Watts' religious poetry, or verses from hymns (notably those of the Wesleys, almost regardless of the religious affiliation of the embroiderer). During the nineteenth century religious proverbs and sayings were much favoured by the churches, and those which used a rhyme or a play on words were easily communicated and remembered.

'Jesus permit thy gracious name to stand' is by far the most commonly found verse on samplers in the English-speaking world. It is known to have been in use from at least 1809. Authorship is attributed by some to the hymn-writer John Newton (1725-1807), best known for 'Amazing Grace', who is said to have written it for the sampler of his niece Elizabeth Catlett. It has also been suggested that it was composed by the writer Isaac Watts (1674-1748) for his niece, but if this were so, it is surprising that there are no eighteenth century examples known when Watts's verses were so much used on samplers. Some admirers of the poet Emily Dickinson (1830-86) have suggested that she composed it because she embroidered it on her sampler, but it had already been in use for several decades by the time she was born.

Physical description

Sampler, hand embroidered in cross stitch on linen, using coloured silks. The border is worked with a repeating sequence of stylized carnations, with a more naturalistic group of red clover and forget-me-nots in each corner. Within the border the sampler is embroidered with paired spot motifs (some as mirror images) which include crowns of forget-me-nots, sprays of roses, vases of flowers, birds in branches, and dogs. At the upper edge is a vignette of a half naked child climbing through fruiting trees, above the verse 'Jesus permit thy gracious name to stand'; at the lower edge is a scene of a young shepherd boy sitting beneath a tree by a church with his dog and sheep, while he plays the bagpipes. The embroiderer's details and the date are worked within an oblong panel at the lower edge.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1835 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Hand embroidered in coloured silks on linen

Marks and inscriptions

Jesus permit thy gracious name to stand/ As the first efforts of an infant hand/ And while her fingers o'er the canvas move/ Incline her tender heart to seek thy love/ And with thy chosen let her share a part/ And write thy name thyself upon her heart
Textual information; upper part of sampler; hand embroidery; thread

Catharine Parsons/ Ended this Work/ Aged 11 Years 1835
Maker's identification; lower part of sampler; hand embroidery; thread


Height: 59.7 cm as mounted, Width: 57 cm as mounted

Object history note

Worked by Catharine Parsons, who later married William Matchwick (first keeper at Bethnal Green Museum). An embroidery tidy of silks said by the donor to have been owned by Mrs Matchwick and associated with this sampler (but later in date) has been preserved in a Register Packet in BGM information files; there are also papers and notebooks relating to William Matchwick. Given by Beryl Tew (Mrs Anthony Tew, née Matchwick)) who was the grand-daughter of William and Catherine Matchwick (RF 92/1402) .

Descriptive line

Sampler hand embroidered in silks on canvas by Catharine Parsons aged 11; England, 1835

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Samplers by Averil Colby (London: Batsford, 1964

Production Note

Reason For Production: Private


Linen; Silk thread


Hand embroidery

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Dog (animal); Buildings; Bird

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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