A COLLECTION of needlework samplers spanning more than 200 years is going on sale in Dorchester.

The collection, amassed over 25 years by the late Dorset needlework connoisseur and antique collector Siva Swaminathan, is expected to fetch thousands of pounds when it goes under the hammer at Duke’s in Dorchester next month.

Mr Swaminathan collected his samples from antique fairs, shops and auctions around the country to ensure his collection included all periods of needlework sampling from the 17th century to the mid 1800s.

Garry Batt, a partner at Duke’s, said: “I have known this collection for some years. It is the best private collection I have seen and is unrivalled in both variety and condition.

“As the silk thread is dyed by hand using vegetable dyes, they are prone to fading.

“Even the earliest examples in this collection are well preserved.

“Every stitching technique and tradition of sampler design is represented in the collection.”

The earliest sampler was done by Susanna Allens in 1668 during the reign of King James II.

The collection ranges up to a sampler dated 1878.

The collection is expected to fetch more than £20,000 when it goes under the hammer.

For details call 01305 265080 or email enquiries@dukes-auctions.com