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British Sampler in Berlin Collection

British sampler dated 1861. British sampler dated 1861. © Foto: Museum Europäischer Kulturen der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Acc. no. II A 8229.

The Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin houses a sampler from Britain, completed in 1861 by Emma Marsh Langwith, who at the time was ten years old. The embroidery is worked in cross stitch, and the sampler measures 31.3 x 24.3 cm.

The sampler contains the following verse:

"Jesus permit the gracious name to stand / As the first effort of an infant’s hand / And, while her fingers on the canvass move / Engage her tender thoughts to seek thy love / With thy dear children let her have a part / And write thy name, thyself, upon her heart"

This verse has been attributed to the priest and (converted) slave trader, John Newton (1725-1807), best-known for 'Amazing Grace', or Isaac Watts (1674-1748), who allegedly wrote it for his niece. This verse is found on many samplers from the Anglo-Saxon world. A prose equivalent was also sometimes used on children's samplers, from the mid-eighteenth century: '…Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them...' (Ecclesiastes 12,1).

See also the Victoria and Albert Museum online publication on samplers and childhood.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin online catalogue (retrieved 4 December 2016).


Last modified on Sunday, 04 December 2016 19:41