Thursday, 27 September 2012

Learning about Welsh Samplers

In the opening title I explain the basics of this blog.  It will be intermittent because I can only discuss and compare the samplers as they appear.  One day I might find three on an auction website and then nothing will happen for a while.

I have long been fascinated by these Welsh woollen samplers which were usually worked on canvas with Berlin Wool.  I believe that they shouldn't be judged as needlework because that are usually crudely worked.  There is nothing fine or delicate about them, they aren't skillfully stitched and many are worked by older girls who were long past school age. I am puzzled by this but wonder if they were worked in Sunday Schools because I know that not just small children went to Sunday School, older girls and women went too!

The sampler below appeared on eBay a few months ago.  It wasn't listed as Welsh but it was full of motifs that I recognised as coming from Carmarthenshire, in fact I own one which contains very similar motifs.

On this sampler, the two pairs of flower filled urns are Welsh favourites.  There is nothing intrinsically Welsh about them only that they constantly appear on samplers made in Wales.

The absence of a verse is another pointer.  My theory is that as Welsh not English was the maker's first language and though by this time Welsh verses were appearing on samplers,  in many ways, if there was a choice, it was easier not to bother and just fill the sampler with a myriad motifs!

If anyone out there has any information which can either confound or confirm my opinions please comment.
This is still a a learning process for me.  


  1. The Welsh samplers are wonderful...I discovered them reading an article in a stitchery magazine, I can`t remember which one, but you may have been the author. The colourful threads remind me a bit of Scottish samplers. I don`t know that I agree they are folk art exclusively...they can easily fit into both categories, IMO. It is curious why they were stitched when they were stitched, when samplers had nearly gone out of fashion. I would love to know the answer to that!

  2. I love these welsh samplers and the way that life has been recorded for us to enjoy. I am of welsh heritage, my ancestors were from Camarthenshire.
    This is great to see, thank you. Maria