Ann Grimshaw, Creator of Cross Stitch Sampler at Ackworth School in 1818
Ann Grimshaw, Creator of Cross Stitch
Sampler at Ackworth School in 1818
Miniature view of Ann Grimshaw’s Sampler, described below
Ann Grimshaw was born in Calverley, Yorkshire and attended Ackworth School from 1816 to 1818, during which time (in 1818) she created a “sampler” of cross stitching. She was about 13 years old at the time. Her work is now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and has become a popular item among cross stitch enthusiasts. The pattern is sold under a royalty arrangement with the Philadelphia Art Museum by the firm, The Scarlet Letter.
Ann, the daughter of John and Mary (Wilson) Grimshaw, was born on April 28, 1804. Her lineage to the earliest Grimshaw family in Yorkshire (described on a companion webpage) has been identified – she was a 5th generation descendant. She married James Thompson on January 12, 1825.
Thanks go to The Scarlet Letter for providing background information on Ann Grimshaw in the cross-stitching kit they sell under a royalty arrangement. Thanks also to Richard Walker for providing additional information on Ann Grimshaw’s work and the picture of Agnes Grimshaw of Ackworth School. Click here for the webpage on Richard’s Grimshaw family line.
Ann Grimshaw’s Sampler
Ann’s sampler is sold by the vendor, The Scarlet Letter, as a kit consisting of the cross-stitch pattern in full size contained within a folder that provides explanatory information. An image of Ann’s sampler is shown in Figure 1. Figure 2 provides an image of the explanatory information on the folder. The text of the explanation is shown below Figure 2.
Figure 1. Image of Ann Grimshaw’s Sampler
Figure 2. Image of front of folder in the cross-stitch kit, showing background information on Ann’s Sampler
Ann Grimshaw 1818
Ackworth Quaker School Sampler
Samplermaking styles (encompassing motifs, color palette, organization of design) usually evolved from cultural, nationalistic roots. Quaker samplers are unique in that the motifs and designs used on them are entirely of the Friends’ own making. The style spread from Europe to America, and remained distinctive even in these widely separated environments. The Quaker designs are reflective of the Quaker theology, extolling the virtues of plainness, of standing apart from the sphere of influence of the outside world, and of peace and serenity (as symbolized by the popular sampler motifs of floating swans, wreaths, floral sprigs and paired doves). At the Ackworth School in North Yorkshire, in England, which was founded in 1779, some effort was made to standardize the Quaker samplermaking style. Emphasis was placed on instruction in practical embroidery, as well as fine penmanship (evident in the distinctive, clear, Roman style lettering on the samplers), geography, and French language. The origin of the geometric medallions used on this, and many other Quaker samplers, has not yet been discovered, but it might possibly have something to do with providing a hands-on, practical lesson in applied geometry, as these motifs arc very carefully calculated amalgams of isosceles triangles, parallelograms, and other precisely fitted geometric shapes. There is also some speculation that the medallion shapes might have been influenced by the designs on some eighteenth century Dutch samplers. Another mystery is why the Quaker schools clung so fiercely to these same designs, for over forty years. Ann Grimshaw stitched this sampler on a plain weave woolen ground, using only black silk floss, in cross and eyelet stitches. The sampler, reproduced with the permission of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (for which they receive royalty payments from THE SCARLET LETTER) is accession no. 1990-83-6, purchased with the bequest of Isabel Zucker. On 40-count linen. the finished reproduction sampler will measure approximately 16-1/2″ x 21-1/2″ on 35-count linen, 18-3/4″ x 24-1/2″. The project is recommended for any level of skill.
Biographical Information on Ann Grimshaw
The cross-stitch folder contains a small note on Ann’s background on the inside (Figure 3). This note provides enough information to locate Ann in the Grimshaw line of Edward and Dorothy (Raner) Grimshaw, as described below.
Figure 3. Image of Ann Grimshaw’s biographical information from the cross stitch kit sold by The Scarlet Letter
Additional Images from the Cross-Stitch Kit
Two additional images from the kit are shown in Figures 4 and 5 below.
Figure 4. Portion of the cross-stitch pattern included in the kit.
Figure 5. Cross-stitch pattern for labeling Ann Grimshaw’s Sampler
Philadelphia Museum of Art Website Information
Ann’s sampler is described on the website (address shown below) as shown in Figure 6. It appears that the original is not on active display at this time.
Figure 6. Image and descriptive information on Ann Grimshaw’s Sampler as provided on the website of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Costume and Textiles Sampler
Ann Grimshaw was from Rawdon, Yorkshire, and attended the Friends’ boarding school in Ackworth, Yorkshire from 1816 to 1818.
Made in Ackworth, Yorkshire, England 1818
Made by Ann Grimshaw, English
Wool plain weave with silk embroidery in cross stitch
16 1/2 x 12 3/4 inches (41.9 x 32.4 cm)
Bequest of Isabel Zucker, 1990
Currently not on view
Ann Grimshaw Ancestry
Based on biographical notes provided in the cross-stitch kit (as described above), Ann can be placed in Edward and Dorothy (Raner) Grimshaw’s descendants as shown in Figure 7. Ann was a fifth-generation descendant of Edward and Dorothy.
Figure 7. Abbreviated descendant of Edward and Dorothy (Raner) Grimshaw, showing location of Ann Grimshaw as a fifth-generation descendant.
Edward Grimshaw (About 1559 – 22 Jun 1635) & Dorotye Raner
Ackworth School was founded as a boarding school for Quaker boys and girls in 1779. Today it has 550 boys and girls of many different faiths aged 4-18. It has a truly international feel, as 90 of the pupils are boarders coming from a dozen or so countries
The Quaker ethos of looking for the good in people, encouraging the individual and making time each day for periods of quiet reflection still lies very much at the heart of the School. At the same time, Ackworth is academically very successful and has a multitude of extra-curricular activities..
Ackworth School was founded in 1779 by John Fothergill on behalf of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and the School Committee (or Board of Governors) is still accountable to this body. The School was established for Quaker boys and girls and the Quaker Christian ethos, with its emphasis on quiet reflection and the search for God within oneself and within others, lies at the heart of the School.
Periods of reflective silence form part of each day, during Morning Meeting and before meals for example, and each Thursday there is a short silent Meeting for Worship for the whole School. On Sunday morning boarders attend Quaker Meeting for Worship unless they wish to attend another place of worship. The importance of respect for others and honesty at all times emphasised by the Quaker faith helps to produce a calm, friendly atmosphere which is supportive and reassuring for young people.
The majority of pupils are from non-Quaker families and about 10% come from other countries. Indeed, the international nature of the School, especially in the Sixth Form, is one of its distinctive features. As in any such community there has to be a clear disciplinary framework and our expectations are high. Ackworth pupils respond well to this and to the opportunities provided for assuming responsibilities, for example within the boarding houses and on the School Council.
The significant events in the history of Ackworth School is described as shown below with the website address: