This incredible object is over 200 years old. It is a picture made from small pieces of paper cut into floral patterns, a shield and letters. These have been arranged on a satin background and the whole has been framed. The caption at the bottom of the picture reads ‘this was done by Jane Hawtin, born without hands at Coventry…1769 – May 3 1780’.
It seems almost impossible to me that someone born without hands was able to produce this picture.
The writing on the picture is slightly damaged and it is not clear if Jane was 11 when she completed the work, or if it took her 11 years to make the picture. At this time young girls often made a needlework sampler as proof of their embroidery skills. You can see several on display at the Herbert. It could be that this careful work was Jane’s equivalent of a needlework sampler.
Unfortunately we don’t know anything else about Jane Hawtin or what happened to her, but this object shows she had patience and tenacity.