Join our panel of speakers to delve deeper into the history of samplers and discover how they have charted important changes in Scottish society while also providing a fascinating insight into women’s history.
Helen Wyld, Exhibition Curator, National Museums Scotland
Samplers are unique historical documents, allowing the intersection of personal, everyday histories with larger themes of social change. This talk will explore some of the themes emerging from the exhibition such as education, family life, women’s history and local and national identity in the eighteenth and nineteenth century Scotland.
Lindy Moore, Independent Researcher
Where did Scottish girls make their samplers, and why was learning this skill long considered an indispensable part of their schooling? The broader history of female education in Scotland reveals the influence of gender, social class, religion and culture on girls’ schooling, aspects which were literally “illustrated” in the samplers made in the classroom.
Carol Humphrey, Hon. keeper of Textiles, Fitzwilliam Museum
Samplers are one of the few objects that were made, over the centuries, by a multitude of girls, from the elite to the impoverished and orphaned. Very few left written records of their lives, their samplers were often the only relic recording their existence. Looking at and researching samplers as documents can sometimes illuminate and bring to life those anonymous young women.
Rebecca Quinton, Research Manager (Art), Glasgow Museums
Glasgow Museums’ collections include approximately 200 Scottish samplers. The majority were acquired because of their inherent charm or the skill of the needlework. Today as well as their aesthetic appeal, many provide a fascinating record of political, social and technological history, offering tantalizing glimpses into the lives of their makers.
Dr Vivienne Richmond, Goldsmiths, University of London
Amid fears that industrialisation was interrupting the traditional transmission of skills between generations of women, needlework became an increasingly important subject in 19th-century girls’ formal schooling. But the type of sewing taught was divided along class lines with the curricula for working-class girls restricting them to the ‘plain sewing’ deemed appropriate for their station in life and ‘fancy work’ forbidden.
with afternoon speakers and Leslie B. Durst.
The unique collection of Scottish samplers featured in Embroidered Stories: Scottish Samplers are generously on loan from American collector Leslie B. Durst.
Header image: Isabella Cook’s sampler is one of a pair both depicting a zebra. © Leslie B. Durst Collection
21 Mar 2019
10:30 – 15:30 (doors open 10:00)
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh - Auditorium, Level 1. Entry via Chambers Street.
£35, £30 Members & Conc.
Includes buffet lunch.
Book online or call 0300 123 6789Book now
There is level access to the Museum via the main doors to the Entrance Hall on Chambers Street and the Tower entrance at the corner of Chambers Street and George IV Bridge. Lifts are available to all floors and accessible toilets are available on most floors, as well as a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0. There is an induction loop in the Auditorium . Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other recognised assistance dogs are admitted. Click here to find more information.