Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1830s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Stephens, Sophia, born 19 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wool, embroidered with silk in cross and gobelin stitch

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The earliest samplers were reference works for embroiderers. They showed 'samples' of patterns and stitches and recorded how to achieve particular effects. In Europe in the 17th century samplers provided instruction and practice for girls learning needlework. Making a sampler was part of a girl's school education throughout the 18th century and into the early 1800s. By this time embroidered samplers were very often a simple and undemanding exercise. This example from the 1830s, however, is a well-planned design and is finely worked. The girl originally embroidered her age and the date on the sampler. Some time later she unpicked them, possibly to conceal her date of birth.

Physical description

Embroidered sampler

Place of Origin

England (made)


1830s (made)


Stephens, Sophia, born 19 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wool, embroidered with silk in cross and gobelin stitch

Marks and inscriptions

'Horse Hill House Near London / Sophia Stephens June 30 183[ ] Aged [ ] Years
Decoration; embroidering; silk; 1830s


Height: 55.9 cm, Width: 54 cm

Descriptive line

Wool sampler by Sophia Stephens, embroidered with silk; English, dated 1830s.

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

Browne, Clare and Jennifer Wearden, eds. Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 1851773096.


Wool; Silk



Subjects depicted

Tree of Knowledge; Animals; Unicorns; House; Floral patterns; Monkeys; Flowers


Embroidery; Textiles


Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.