The Goodhart collection

An example of one of the samplers from the Goodhart collection at Montacute House

During its 400 year history, the Brown Room in Montacute House has had several names and functions. In 1932 it was known as the Brown Room and was Mr Phelips’ dressing room. When Lord Curzon of Kedleston was tenant here at Montacute in 1920, it was called the Frieze Room. In 1834 it was a dressing room to the Hall Chamber.

A sampler worked by a girl called Sarah Mitchell was his first impulse purchase from an antique shop in Sussex in the 1950s.  This was the beginning of what was to become a collection of nearly 300 pieces, 120 of which are at Montacute.

At first, Dr Goodhart collected broadly, seeking the very best examples to be found.  In particular, he chose those that displayed characteristics common to a region or the country, that were illustrative of particular types of decoration or technique and others based on chronological changes or which had been dated.  However, he soon concentrated on English samplers of the 17th century, a period that produced some of the most beautiful and skilled examples ever made.  The collection at Montacute now includes a highly significant group of 16th and 17th century samplers and is recognised as of international significance.