New book on Samplers, Sewing and Simplicty

We are delighted to bring you news of a recently published book written by Clodagh Grubb of Monkstown Meeting.

Clodagh, a history graduate from Trinity College Dublin who has curated the collection of samplers and other textiles in Friends House Historical Library in Dublin since 2011, has spent the past seven years researching and compiling her book, ‘Samplers, Sewing and Simplicity in Quaker Ireland’.

The book grew out of the author’s love for textiles and design, her interest in history and the discovery of the rich and varied collection of needlework and textiles in the Friends Historical Library. With over 150 illustrations, the book looks both at this work, produced for the most part in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and at the social and historical context in which it was made.

Samplers, Sewing and SimplicityThe Quaker belief in the equality of all and the consequent importance given to the education of girls meant that Quaker women were often better equipped than most to deal with running a household and dealing with much of the business and accounts. They might have to do everything, from spinning to making clothing, bed linen and other soft furnishings.  At a period when employment for women could be difficult to obtain, their sewing skills were a considerable advantage.

The Quaker ethos of simplicity in everything from clothing to furnishings to social life coloured most activity. Where unnecessary ornamentation was frowned on, surviving dresses show a definite awareness of fashion in their cut.

Making a sampler was a form of recreation for girls, some as young as six years of age, which allowed them to use more creatively the skills that they had spent many hours practising in the schoolroom. A love of colour and a diversity of scripts and motifs, many drawn from a broader European tradition, and the way in which they are arranged gives many of the Irish Quaker samplers a character of their own.

Clodagh is from a Quaker family who came to Ireland in the late seventeenth century.

‘Samplers, Sewing and Simplicity in Quaker Ireland’ by Clodagh Grubb is  published by Friends’ Historical Committee and copies are available from Friends Historical Library, Stocking Lane,  Dublin 16  at a price including postage of €30 for paperback or casebound at €40.  Email to purchase a copy or for further information.