Design Size 15¼" x 17¼" (39cm x 44cm) when worked on 32 count Linen fabric over 2 fabric threads.
The Bristol sampler style is recognised easily as originals were usually worked in red cotton thread and no corner of the material was ever wasted. The top portion consisted of a variety of alphabets, numerals and border patterns all worked in cross-stitch. As most of the children went into service when they left the orphanage it was extremely likely that they would be required to mark household linen and therefore needed to attain high levels of workmanship and a wide repertoire of lettering styles.The bottom portion consisted of numerous small decorative motifs including small birds, insects, animals and corner patterns. These were samplers in the true sense of the word as they were a permanent record which could also be used to demonstrate sewing skills to prospective employers.
Images of a steamboat and a railway locomotive often featured. It is probable they alluded to the grand design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the emminent Victorian engineer, who wanted to create a direct link between London and New York. His railway would take passengers from Paddington Station in London to Bristol where they would embark on one of his steamships, such as the SS Great Britain, for the transatlantic crossing.
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