When we first saw Hannah’s sampler we immediately fell in love with the boy riding his faithful dog, after all, “a boy and his dog make a glorious pair, no better friendship is found anywhere, for they talk and they walk and they run and they play and they have deep secrets for many a day”. We knew we had to reproduce this beautiful sampler to share with other stitchers.
We know of two other samplers that feature this particular motif, one of which is Mary Rickards 1824 that is featured in Micheàl and Elizabeth Feller’s “The Needlework Collection 2” (page 146).
Hannah’s sampler features: a honeysuckle border of many colours; a double alphabet and two houses; a windmill; a snake curled around a tree; a man and lady sheltering under an umbrella; a swan plus numerous birds and butterflies; a stunning basket of flowers and a double crucifix. Crucifixion samplers are uncommon and seldom do they have the charm of this sampler. To have a double crucifixion scene is rare.
From our research we have found three possible Hannahs, all born in Lancashire. One of the Hannah’s was baptised in Royton. There was a windmill in the village in the 1800’s and a Hall there bears some similarity to the large red house in the sampler. We will never know for certain if this is our little girl but she is a strong contender.
In the language of flowers honeysuckle stands for happiness. For the superstitious honeysuckle protects your garden from evil. The sweet smelling blossoms are believed to induce dreams particularly about love and passion! It was thought that if honeysuckle was brought into a house when in bloom, a wedding would soon take place in that household. A swan symbolises grace and beauty and this is a beautiful sampler. Hannah, when she was only 10 years of age, showed great industry and patience in stitching such a large project on 60ct linen.
The verse featured on Hannah’s sampler is a compilation taken from two hymns by Isaac Watts dealing with death: “Prayer for Deliverance from the Fear of Death” and “Death of the Sinner and Saint”.