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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Ships on Welsh Samplers

It is not really surprising why ships are favoured motifs on Welsh samplers because here in Wales we are never far from the sea, it surrounds us on three sides.  In the past, before the railway, it was the main means of transporting people and goods.  All that has changed and now once flourishing port towns have become tourist areas and their fleet of ships have long gone, even the fishing has diminished because of EU policy - but that's politics and another story!

So it's rather nice that ships are commemorated on our samplers and very often with their name -

Betsy Evans was 16 when she did this sampler, far too old to be at day school!
Sorry about the definition on this sampler - Again Catharine Davies wasn't a schoolgirl but 20 years of age.  The sampler is not fine needlework and the ship looks like one from a  pattern book.
This is a famous and stunning sampler in Carmarthen Museum. Wonderful ship and the name "Prince Royal" could be authentic!  Margaret Davies was 19 when she worked this but she doesn't look as if she was comfortable with lettering!
This is definitely folk art rather than fine needlework!
Sorry about this picture but it it gives a flavour of this wonderful folk art piece.  I wonder if the Alabama was a real ship and I love the dogs on board?
Six ships on this very colourful sampler but what a peculiar house!

I hope this selection of ship samplers informs and charms you and helps you to understand why I call them folk art.  I just love their zaniness.  The girls and young women who sewed them weren't comfortable with sewing, that much is obvious, but the samplers they produced have a wonderful naive quality.

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