Sampler made at the Westtown Quaker School

Sarah Thomas American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 727

This sampler is one of two (see 2005.19) made by Sarah Thomas (1786-1826) in the Museum’s collection. Sarah completed both during the time she attended the Westtown Quaker Boarding School in Chester County Pennsylvania from December 1800 to December 1801. Both samplers are accomplished examples of a distinctive type of embroidery made only at Quaker schools. The Quaker emphasis on simple, yet careful and precise sewing, enabled students from such schools to become some of the best needleworkers in the nineteenth century who often went on to teach embroidery to other young women. The samplers by Sarah Thomas are related to another Westtown sampler in the Museum’s collection, 2005.463.2 made by Rebecca March in 1802.
This sampler includes floral spot motifs and the initials of her classmates at Westtown. It is the type of work that Sarah would have completed after mastering a more basic sampler (see 2005.19) but before moving on to even more demanding embroidery projects.

Sampler made at the Westtown Quaker School, Sarah Thomas (1786–1826), Embroidered silk on linen, American

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