Sarah finished her sampler in the ninth month of the year 1815. After an extensive search we have found two Sarah Bortons who would fit our time frame. One of our Sarahs was born in Acaster Malbis in York, England in 1805 and the other in Preston-next-Faversham, Kent, England in 1806. We suspect, due to the scene portrayed, that the latter girl is more likely to be our sampler maker. The sampler is a beautiful example of school girl art and fine needlework, especially for a 9 or 10 year old.
A rural English scene is one of the beautiful features of Sarah Borton’s sampler. A farmer and servant are busy building hayricks; a very important chore on a farm. The farmer’s wife is drawing a bucket of water from the well. A meandering strawberry outer border surrounds this charming sampler. There are four different alphabets stitched in cross stitch, Algerian eyelet, and satin stitch along with a dividing honeysuckle border. Other stitches used are French knots, stem stitch, chain stitch and four sided stitch. The main feature of Sarah’s sampler is the pretty freehand wreath that contains the verse. Sarah stitched two crowns on her sampler with the initials K and E. It was a common practice in some schools in England and Scotland to stitch rows of crowns and coronets with a single letter underneath. “K” for King, “D” for Duke and “E” for Earl etc.
Sarah used the very popular sampler verse “Jesus permit thy gracious Name to stand, As the first efforts, of an Infant hand”. This verse is believed to have been composed by the hymn writer John Newton (best known for “Amazing Grace”) for his niece, but it is possible that it was composed by Isaac Watts for his niece.
There are a variety of stitches used: cross stitch over 1 and 2 threads, chain stitch, satin stitch, French knot, four sided stitch and Algerian eyelets. Sarah’s sampler has been rated as suitable for advanced stitchers, however, it is not beyond confident and determined intermediates. Within the sampler’s 32 page full colour booklet is a 9 page stitching guide with detailed photographs and comprehensive instructions.
The design area is 258 stitches (w) x 304 stitches (h).
Our calculations have included a 3” margin for finishing and framing.
28ct – Design: 18.43″ x 21.71″ Fabric: 24.43″ x 27.71″
32ct – Design: 16.13″ x 19″ Fabric: 22.13″ x 25″
36ct – Design: 14.33″ x 16.89″ Fabric: 20.33″ x 22.89″
40ct – Design: 12.9″ x 15.2″ Fabric: 18.9″ x 21.2″
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