Esther Benson 1739 – a new release

Hands Across the Sea Samplers are thrilled to present to you our latest reproduction – the beautiful Esther Benson 1739. 

Nicola was commissioned by Kimberley Young  to reproduce a sampler exclusively for Sassy Jacks Stitchery. This is a particularly beautiful and unusual sampler both for the scenes portrayed and the colours used. 

Nearly two hundred and eighty years ago a 9 year old girl put the last stitches into her sampler recording “Done by me Esther Benson aged of 9 year 1739 at London”.

There are two pictorial bands, the first is a beautiful Adam and Eve scene that is crammed full of animals, birds, stars, the moon and the sun. The Tree of Knowledge with the serpent twined on the trunk is in the centre of Adam and Eve. Esther has depicted Eve, who has succumbed to the serpent and eaten an apple from the tree, tempting Adam. To the right there is a sun representing day, whilst to the left is a crescent moon representing night. This is unusual as the moon is traditionally associated with the feminine and the sun with the masculine

The second pictorial band of Esther’s sampler is symmetrical in design and features 2 angels with trumpets, signifying that they are the voice of God, above a domed ecclesiastical building that is flanked by two oversized shrubs. It is in this building that the sampler shows its age and there has been thread loss. When we first saw this temple we initially thought that it was connected to Solomon’s Temple. However, this was to change when another sampler came into our collection that had the same building. This sampler’s near identical building bore a name – “The Temple of Fame”. After extensive research , we found that there was no connection to Solomon’s Temple and that our Temple had its own very interesting story that travels down the centuries. The story of the Temple of Fame goes back to 1379 when Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the Father of English.

The model was exquisitely stitched by Suzanne Sirotti in Australia.

We had great fun working with Kimberley on this project. Esther’s 32 page booklet booklet has much historical information. When researching her we were whisked back to a fascinating period in the history of London and we hope you enjoy the journey back in time too when stitching Esther.

Booklets, special cuts of linen in assorted counts and threads packs of DMC, AVAS d’Alger or NPI are available HERE

A comprehensive online workshop is also available through Sassy Jacks Stitchery.