You are often very kind to email to tell me that Needleprint produce the most beautiful sampler books - thank you. If you were to ask me, I would say this book is one of the most beautifully produced books on samplers. And goodness it is nearly 90!
It is in excellent condition and you can see it has its dustjacket all in one piece with just a small parting on the spine where the book has been taken out of the shelf on so many occasions. This is why the Bodleian store their books with spines inward and cut page ends facing out to the shelf browser, so that they are not pulled out by the spines!
The book has 78 plates in all, 6 in colour the rest are black and white.
And the samplers illustrated are from some of the most celebrated private collections which have now passed into museum collections.
Each colour plate has its own decorated tissue protector
which you can see here, with the ghost of the sampler illustration just visible beneath.
The samplers are in the main from the Glaisher and Longman collections - now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, the John Jacoby collection, and the V&A.
As this is a very special book, I want to show you as many plates as possible for you to enjoy.
This sampler is made by a French girl and is pre-Revolution French - 1745 - though, judging from the motifs she has used, the sampler was either made in the UK, or has a very strong English influence - perhaps her teacher was English.
Not a sampler but a rather spectacular pillow with an early Jacobean woman placed amidst what seem like a number of knot gardens.
Now look at this - Boxers appearing on an early 17th century panel placed in a repeat pattern with a rather Cretan or Greek-looking horse.... I love this mysteries, don't you?
And this is a mermaid for Marjan, with a courtly man and woman for Dorothy and a phoenix for Erica and splendid blossoms for all of you. Oh and there is a Bristol Orphanage sampler in here, too!