I am sure that by now you know that I am passionate about samplers and have collected these exquisite pieces of embroidery for over 30 years. I am never happier than when designing or stitching a sampler project. One of my very favourite haunts is a shop called Witney Antiques, in Witney near Oxford, and I must visit this very special place every few months or I get withdrawal symptoms. They also hold dedicated sampler exhibitions that merit more than visit!
In the early days I would call and see owners Joy and Simon Jarrett, who were so generous with their knowledge and expertise in spite of the fact that I could rarely buy anything in the shop (except some of their glorious catalogues) as their collection is always museum quality and well beyond my budget. Having said that, I did use my pension pot to buy a band sampler when I ‘retired’ from running the Cross Stitch Guild. And it was, of course, from Joy.
Sadly, we recently lost both Simon and Joy within months of each other, but I am happy to say that Rebecca Scott, their daughter has continued the business and is always happy to talk to me about samplers at any time.
Her book, Samplers, is I think, the best, most informative and well-balanced book on samplers that I have ever read. As a collector herself, and after years working with her parents, she is fantastically knowledgeable and really loves her subject.Rebecca’s book features a wide variety of samplers, including band samplers, spot motifs, school samplers, darning samplers and all sorts of related material and is simply a must if you interested in the subject as a stitcher, collector or just an enthusiast. I talked her into signing some copies of her book for us if you would like a copy.