Samplers have a long history in Britain, dating from the sixteenth century. They were originally a collection of patterns gathered together for easy reference to be used in embroidery and needlepoint lace. But they later developed into a schoolgirls' exercise, and today they are more often used to record stitches than patterns. This book traces the history of samplers in Britain from the late sixteenth century onwards, and includes examples of long, darning, map, school, stitch and plain sewing samplers, as well as those associated with great griefs and joys. This book, written by Britain's leading experts on the subject, and illustrated with superb photographs of a great range of samplers, provides an ideal introduction for the collector, art historian and social historian of these amazing embroidered pictures.