Schoolgirl sampler — celestial diagram rather than map!

Samplers ~ pieces of cloth embroidered with alphabets, maxims, or floral designs ~ were made by girls as part of their education throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (I can remember my infant-school class, in London, making samplers when I was 6 years old, although the samplers collected today as folk art were by older, more accomplished children.) Some were embroidered with maps (see Tyner 1994; Jarrett, Jarrett, and Scott 2005). What the Victoria & Albert's Museum of Childhood has just recently discussed on its Collecting Childhood blog, however, is an 1811 sampler embroidered with a diagram of the solar system:

1811 sampler

The Museum staff use this piece as the basis for a wonderful discussion of science education for girls and women in Georgian England. All told, this is a great example of museum outreach!


Jarrett, Joy, Stephen Jarrett, and Rebecca Scott. 2005. Samplers: Mapped and Charted. Witney, Oxon.: Witney Antiques.

Tyner, Judith.1994.  “Geography through the Needle’s Eye: Embroidered Maps and Globes in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” Map Collector, no. 66.


h/t Kathryn Edney