Julia Burgess 1868

The original sampler size is: 10.25 inches wide x 13.5 inches high (stitched area)

Julia's 1868 sampler was stitched over 2 threads on an uneven-weave fabric that was 60+ threads per inch. The entire piece was worked in Cross stitch.

This sampler is a common example of the redwork samplers created in the Orphan Homes in the 1860's and 1870's. The format of upper alphabets with motifs and borders on the bottom are found on many samplers that were stitched during this time period. The Bible motif is central on Julia's sampler.

One special thing about this sampler is that not only did Julia sign her full name, she also stitched which House she lived in - New Orphan House 3. This was the house where the older girls were housed during this time.

This sampler is in a private collection.

Orphan Story

Elisabeth Julia Burgess was born in 1855 in Mangotsfield, Bristol, the daughter of William Alfred Burgess, a laborour, and Emily Ann Churchill. Her mother died when she was eight and her father remarried.

In 1868, at the age of 13, her father died as well, leading to her time at the Orphanage. Her step mother could not or did not want to continue to care for her.
Julia was recommended to the orphanage by the Reverend John H. Hall. His letter stated that her grandfather, one of the remaining relatives, due to old age and poor health, could not take care of the child.

Julia was 12 - 13 years old when she worked her sampler in 1868.

Julia was dismissed from the orphanage in 1871. Her health was listed as poor - she was very weak and unable to continue with house work. For the 1871 England census, she is shown living with her stepmother in Staple Hill, Gloucestershire.

Julia's death is recorded in 1878, at the age of 23.

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