Annie Parker Hairwork Sampler, Greenwich, ENGLAND, c. 1879
A hairwork sampler, of linen with crochet inserts, worked by Annie Parker aged 31 done by her with her own hair 1879.
Not my will but thine be done / My God my Father while I stray / Far from my home on lifes rough way / O teach me from my heart to say / Thy will be done /
Though dark my path and sad my lot / Let me be still and murmur not / Or breathe the prayer divinely taught / Thy will be done /
What though in lonely grief I sigh / For friends beloved no longer nigh / Submissive would still reply / Thy will be done /
Renew my will from day to day / Blend it with thine and take away / All that now makes it hard to say / Thy will be done /
Come unto me all ye that labour and / are heavy laden and I will give rest
Annie Parker / Done by her in / fond memory of / Thomas Parker / Who died Jan 6 79 / Annie Parker done by her with her own hair
Criminal historian and writer Nell Darby thoughtfully articulates the unique story of Annie Parker:
It is recorded that Annie died from consumption in 1885. In a rather astounding herstory, it is said that she was locked up in prison more than 300 times and appeared before the magistrates more than 400 times, most often for drunkenness.
"According to press reports of the time, she was ‘never out of prison more than two or three days’. While in jail she would make wonderful pieces of embroidery. This sampler, edged in Parker’s crocheted lace, is embroidered with her own hair – something the Victorians were strangely fond of doing."
Annie died while in the Greenwich Workhouse infirmary.
Given the unkind and unfavorable conditions under which Annie would have worked her embroidery, this work is nothing short of miraculous. The use of single strands of hair, the minute scale of the stitching, and the prayers that are embedded in her work, are a testimony to her divine inner fortitude and strength of spirit.
This sampler is largest of four known works done by Annie Parker.
c. 1879 - 1882
15.5" x 18.5"
Darkening and spotting to ground. No thread, stitch, or ground loss. Previously mounted on a blue pigmented mounting board. Pigment attached to reverse side. Can only be treated with dry conservation methods. Unmounted. Unframed.