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A scathing 18th-century love note sewn with human hair will be displayed at the London Museum.

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Anna Maria Radclyffe most likely embroidered the phrase using her husband's hair, James Radclyffe, who was killed in 1716 for rebelling against King George III.

Anna Maria Radclyffe sat down to embroider after her husband was killed in 1716. She, on the other hand, employed strange tools. She used the bedsheet from his Tower of London prison cell as fabric. She also used human hair for thread, probably pulled from his severed head.

"This embroidered bedsheet is an incredible piece that would have taken months or years to construct," Beverley Cook, curator of social history at the Museum of London, remarked.

"The tenderness and dedication reflect Anna's emotional anguish and exceptional character — determined to preserve her husband's memory long after his death."

On February 24, 1716, Anna Maria's husband, James Radclyffe, the third Earl of Derwentwater, was hanged for his role in the Jacobite insurrection of 1715. James and other insurgents had attempted – and failed – to restore the monarchy to the son of an ousted Catholic king.

James was taken to the Tower of London to be beheaded. Though Anna Maria frequently joined him there, James also wrote her love letters in which he referred to her as his "dearest worldly possession" and pushed her to be brave rather than melancholy.

"It'd be great to believe they were resting together beneath this sheet," Cook said, noting that the sheet didn't appear to be worn and could have only been used during his four-month stay in the Tower.

"We can't prove anything, but it's very plausible that she gave birth to their daughter at that time."

James' heart was delivered to an Augustinian convent after his execution at the age of 26. Anna Maria received his body, complete with his head sewed back on.

"That would have allowed her to remove some of his hair," Cook explained, pointing out that Anna Maria retained some of her husband's hair in a locket. "And we do know that collecting hair locks was a fairly prevalent practice."

Cook also hypothesized that Anna Maria used both James' and her hair because the hair sewed into the bedsheet appears to be two different hues. Flowers, leaves, and a heart-shaped wreath are among the other decorations on the sheet. These additions, unlike the love message, are made with linen thread.

Later, Anna Maria departed the nation with her children, residing in Brussels in the hopes of raising them Catholic. Sadly, she died of smallpox in 1723.

But Anna Maria's bedsheet, which she had embroidered with human hair, remained. Generations of James' friends and other campaigners kept it over the years until it was acquired by the Museum of London in 1934.

In the end, the execution of rebels such as James Radclyffe slowed but did not stop, the Jacobite movement's quest to restore a Catholic to the throne

Though they were unsuccessful in putting the "Old Pretender" James Stuart, son of the deposed Catholic King James II and VII of England and Scotland, on the throne in 1715, his son Charles Edward Stuart led the next Jacobite insurrection in 1745. Stuart, on the other hand, suffered a brutal defeat.

Indeed, the bedsheet is a symbol of England's violent past. In October 2022, it will be part of a "Executions" show at the Museum of London Docklands. Other artifacts from 700 years of executions in England will be on display, including garments worn by King Charles I at his beheading in 1649, a gallows reconstruction, and letters penned by the doomed.

"Public executions were ingrained in London's landscape and culture, influencing people's everyday lives," Meriel Jeater, another curator at the Museum of London, noted.

"Hints of this unpleasant past can still be found in the city's streets today, and Executions will let visitors examine this dark but intriguing piece of London's history for the first time through a large exhibition."

Though Anna Maria's bedsheet is a "kind of relic of Catholic martyrs," as Cook describes it, it also reflects a wife's devotion to her husband - even after death.