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Sampler by J(ane) Stead at Ackworth School

1799 (dated)
Origin: England, Yorkshire
Sampler: 21 3/4" x 16" Framed: 25 3/4" x 20"
Silk threads on a linen ground of 26 warps x 24 wefts per inch (fiber identification by eye)
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1999-28
This is a large rectangular needlework sampler worked in brown, green, and blue/green silk embroidery threads on a dark linen ground. Sampler has selvedges at sides and 1/4" hem at top and bottom. Large half-geometric medallions form a border on all four sides of sampler.
In the center of the sampler is an octagon enclosing a pair of birds with the inscription and date,"A TOKEN/ OF LOVE/ 1799”." To the left is a decorative octagon enclosing a flower and the date "1799." To the right of the center octagon is a large medallion enclosing a flower. Above and to the left of this medallion are sprigs of flowers. Below and to the left of this medallion is a small vase of flowers and bird. Above and to the left of the center octagon is an isolated floral sprig. Below the center octagon is the name, "J Stead."
The bottom area of the sampler consists of, from left to right: a half geometric medallion, a medallion enclosing a pair of birds with sprigs of flowers, an octagon enclosing a swan and tree, one half of a flower motif and a wreath of leaves enclosing the inscription, "JS/ tO HS/ 1799." Stitched randomly throughout the sampler are the letters of the alphabet in the following groupings, "ABC", "D", "I", "Z", "WXY", "PO", "MN", "G", "HK", "F", "RTQ", "EL", and "UV". The following sets of initials are also scattered across sampler, "TS", "IF", "AMS", "PS", "HS", "LS", "MW", "MS", "AS", "SW", and "LA."

Stitches: Cross over one and two threads.
Label:The maker of this sampler, Jane Stead, is recorded in the Ackworth student directory as student number 2080. She was from Toppitt, a small hamlet in West Riding, Yorkshire. Jane left the school in 1800.

Ackworth School was established in 1779 to provide an education for less privileged children whose parents were of the Quaker faith. The motifs, designs, and alphabets seen on samplers worked at Ackworth were quite distinct from those on other samplers of the period. The bold Roman alphabet, octagons, medallions, swans, and sprays of flowers became hallmarks of Quaker samplers. Quaker teachers and students from Ackworth spread these unique designs. By the late eighteenth century, American schools--the most famous Quaker school being Westtown in Pennsylvania--produced Quaker samplers.

Provenance:The provenance of the sampler prior to acquisition from Finkel & Daughter is unknown.

History of maker:
Jane Stead is recorded in the Ackworth student directory as student #2080. She was from Toppitt, a small hamlet in West Riding, Yorkshire. She is recorded as leaving Ackworth in 1800.
Mark(s):"1799" "A TOKEN/ OF LOVE/ 1799" "J Stead" "JS/ to HS/ 1799" "TS" "AMS" "IF" "PS" "HS" "LS" "MW" "MS" "AS" "SW" "LA"
Inscription(s):"1799" "A TOKEN/ OF LOVE/ 1799" "J Stead" "JS/ to HS/ 1799" "TS" "AMS" "IF" "PS" "HS" "LS" "MW" "MS" "AS" "SW" "LA"