Among the most desirable of all needlework samplers are those associated with pupils at the Ackworth School, founded as a co-educational boarding school in 1779 by the Quaker physician John Fothergill and still thriving today.
Many of these 'medallion' designs, worked as gifts to classroom
friends with motifs perhaps taken from watch papers, now form part
of the school archive including the large polychrome example by
pupil Sarah Moon dated 1791 sold at
Tennants in 2006 for £8500.
But, as amply demonstrated by this eagerly contested needlework
Tayler & Fletcher of Cheltenham on June 12, medallion
samplers were not unique to Ackworth or West Yorkshire. This framed
and glazed sampler was worked in blue thread with a series of
typical geometric and foliate designs as A gift for my
friend and as A token of love by Nancy
Stead of Wigton School in 1822.
Based on the outskirts of Wigton in Cumbria, the school was
opened by the Society of Friends in 1815 - the initial intake of
nine boys and eight girls housed in buildings leased at an annual
rent of 27 guineas. Finally closed in 1984, the school's historic
main building, built in 1826 in the classic Georgian style, was
destroyed by fire five years later.
This memento of its earliest days, that had faded considerably
and showed one or two small holes, had been overlooked by the
auctioneers, but in the days of internet search engines few can
have hoped to buy it at £30-50.
In the event it sold at £2200 - a decent price but a little less
than one might have expected had there been an association with the
The buyer's premium was 15%.
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