ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / books

  “Remember Now Thy Creator”: Scottish Girls’ Samplers, 1700-1872, by Naomi Tarrant, Edinburgh, 2014, in english, 232 pages, full colour illustrations, at 20
Publisher: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, ISBN 978-1-90833-207-3
Books can be ordered from Booksource: 50 Cambuslang Road, Cambuslang, Glasgow G32 8NB, Tel: 0845 370 0067 -

  The Author
Naomi E A Tarrant was for many years the Curator of Costume and Textiles at the National Museums of Scotland.  As a historian her interest in samplers stems from a desire to understand the background to girls’ lives, why and how they made samplers. She has written many books and articles on dress and various textile arts. 

The aim of this book is to look at samplers made in Scotland as well as their place in the education of girls, putting them within the social context of the period.  The time spanned covers the first emergence of a specific Scottish style and ends with the introduction of the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act which made schooling a local government responsibility. 
The contents include a brief history of samplers, before considering the documentary evidence for samplers in Scotland and the earliest surviving pieces. Schooling for girls and the importance of plain sewing samplers are dealt with before looking at embroidered examples, the various types found in Scotland and how certain designs appear to be specific to this country.  An important aspect of Scottish samplers is the use of family initials that allows for tracing the makers in various archive sources.

During research for the book the author, Naomi Tarrant, came across an old sampler made into a bag among the Seafield Papers in the National Records of Scotland. “It survived because it contained the executory papers of Lady Ann Duff, who was born in 1725 and died in 1805.  There are no known samplers made by Scottish girls surviving before the early years of the eighteenth century, although there are documentary records that they were made from at least the mid sixteenth century, so this was an exciting find.  Although it had no date and its maker is unknown, it is possibly the oldest Scottish sampler that now survives, dating to at least the mid-seventeenth century.”  Photographs and a fuller details on the piece feature in the book.  


home content Last revised 16 November 2014