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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1786 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hall, Mary (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wool and silk blend fabric, embroidered with silk threads

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Emma Monteith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The original purpose of a sampler was to record all the different stitches that the maker knew. But from the 18th century samplers emphasised the maker’s ability to embroider words and pictorial motifs. Mary Hall’s sampler is a mixture of old and new fashions. The Montgolfier Brothers’ hot air balloon, the first recorded example, had taken off in France only three years earlier, in 1783. The verse ‘Fragrant the rose is’, however, is in a melancholy poetic tradition that dwelt on the brevity of mortal life and was particularly popular in Britain in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Physical description

Sampler embroidered in coloured silks on a wool and silk blend fabric. The sampler is embroidered at the upper edge with two verses in blue thread above the maker's name and date, and the rest of the sampler is worked with spot motifs, mainly containers of stylized flowers, in coloured silks. A hot-air balloon with a flag hanging over each side of the basketis stitched just below the maker's name.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1786 (made)


Hall, Mary (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wool and silk blend fabric, embroidered with silk threads

Marks and inscriptions

Fragrant the Rose is but it fades in time/ The Violet sweet but quickly past the prime/
White Lilies hang their heads and soon decay/ And whiter snow in Minutes melts away/
Such and so with'ring are our early Joys/ Which Time or Sickness speedily destroys
Textual information; centre of upper edge; embroidering; thread

Virtue's the chiefest Beauty of the Mind/ The noblest Ornament of Human kind/ Virtue's our Safeguard and our guiding Star/ That stirs up Reason when our senses err.
Textual information; just above centre of sampler; embroidering; thread

Mary Hill. Wye.1786.
Maker's identification; centre of sampler; embroidering; thread

Descriptive line

Sampler embroidered in coloured silks by Mary Hall in England in 1786


Wool and silk; Silk thread



Subjects depicted

Stylized flowers; Hot-air balloon


Children & Childhood; Embroidery

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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