The Goodhart collection

Section of a sampler dated 1662 Easle Swinson at Montacute House

During its 400 year history, the Brown Room has been much altered. It was formed partly from the original Hall Chamber, and sometimes served as a dressing room to this bedroom. Today, you'll find a selection of samplers from the Goodhart collection hanging there.

Dr Goodhart was an anaesthetist whose imagination was caught by a sampler worked by a little girl called Sarah Mitchell, found in an antique shop in Sussex in the 1950s.  It was the beginning of what was to become a collection of nearly 300 pieces, 120 of which are at Montacute either on display or in storage.

At first, Dr Goodhart collected broadly, seeking the very best examples.  He chose those that displayed characteristics common to a region or the country, illustrated particular types of decoration or technique or 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.