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Collecting Antique Samplers
Samplers and schoolgirl embroideries are one of the few decorative arts collected today that were made away from home by non-professionals and not intended to be purchased or sold. One of the least understood areas of Americana, samplers were not highly collected until the middle of the 20th century. Largely due to Bolton and Coe’s hugely successful work, American Samples a listing of pieces owned by DAR members , samplers were discovered, and collecting began at a very modest level.
Considered childish endeavors, samplers were endearing, the messages often sweet, but the collecting world had no clue about why, how or where they were made. The romantic notion that samplers were stitched at mother’s knee by candlelight was not dispelled until the last quarter of the 20th century when scholars began researching and writing about the young ladies’ schools and academies found inscribed on many pieces.
The patterns featured here are from Muriel Brunet’s own collection of antique samplers. They are of European origin and most date back to the 19th century.
In 18th- and 19th-century America, samplers were used as an educational tool for girls from all social backgrounds, but the function of the finished product would differ. The proud parents of a girl from an affluent family might put her sampler in a wooden frame and hang it on the wall to show her skill in needlework, good upbringing and domesticity. However, the sampler of a girl who was a charity school student would prove to potential employers her ability to sew, mark and mend personal and household linen.
A middle- or upper-class girl was expected to grow up, get married, have children and take care of a home. Proficiency with needle and thread was not a hobby back then; it was a necessity. As part of her preparation for the responsibility of sewing clothes and linens for her future family, most girls completed at least two samplers. Regardless of the social class of most sampler stitchers, the techniques were often similar. Samplers demonstrated an ability to do simple embroidery techniques, plain sewing techniques and darning.
Plain linen cotton and wool were the usual ground fabrics. Marking samplers with her initials in cross-stitch served a dual purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions
Samplers are a form of embroidery that evolved in the 17thC, used to demonstrate needlework skills. Most commonly, samplers are stitched by children, using silk or wool thread, onto a canvas ground. They often feature alphabets, numbers, verses and motifs. They are then mounted into a frame, ready for hanging on a wall.
Date made: ; associated dates: maker: Goodale, Amanda F. ID.
Register or log in lost password? Helen Hawkins-Ainsley Member. Can some help me with alphabets on antique samplers Does any one know when the letter J started to appear in the alphabets? I’m looking at getting a sampler from the States. Does this sound genuine? Christine Berrett Administrator. I should think it could well be genuine. The introduction of J and V and W would not have happened overnight, but would have taken time to be accepted.
From The Alphabet by David Sacks:. Nevertheless, over the next years, J was not recognised universally as a separate letter but Only in the midth century, under influence of new dictionaries by Noah Webster and others, did J and V gain full acceptance and follow W into out alphabet. Thanks Christine I’m only concerned as I don’t recall having seen a sampler of that date with the J in it.
I suspect in it could go either way. I suppose my feeling is that if it were NOT genuine, the letter J would have been omitted from all alphabets.
A needlework sampler is a piece of embroidery or cross-stitching produced as a ‘specimen of achievement’  , demonstration or a test of skill in needlework. The word sampler is derived from the Latin exemplum , which means ‘example’. The earliest sampler extant is a spot sampler, i. It is estimated to date from ca. It has seventy-four figures of birds, plants and mythological beings.
Whether a sampler is American, English, Scottish, Dutch or Spanish there can be certain visual clues that make its origin known. After years of study, we can easily identify characteristics and compositions from not only certain regions, but specific schools, as well. American samplers can be identified by regional characteristics; i. The format, whether horizontal or vertical, the stylization of flower blossoms, and borders can all give insight into the origin and date of a sampler.
Genealogical research helps where possible, as well but the physical characteristics of sampler must come first in the identification process. Generally, English samplers are more commonly worked on a fine wool ground, rather than the linen ground greatly favored by American samplermakers. Samplers made in Englandwill frequently have a more formal, symmetrical composition with small, sometimes tiny, motifs spaced evenly on both left and right of a larger central image, often arranged in mirror-image format.
American samplers have a more organic quality, generally not symmetrical, with more vining plants and scrolling borders.
Latest: 2020 Tour Update
Three Autumn Exhibitions This year Witney Antiques have great pleasure in presenting three special exhibitions to run concurrently and staged in our Witney showrooms. This is a new departure and one which will showcase three foremost dealers in their particular fields, giving a unique opportunity for clients old and new to meet, admire and perhaps purchase that special object. Opening Reception: Sunday 16th October 2 – 5 pm.
Buy online, view images and see past prices for HAND STITCHED ON LINEN SAMPLERS FRAMED UNDER GLASS. Invaluable is the world’s largest.
Hubers AntiqueSamplers. Lydia A. Thurston Charleston, SC c. Pierce Erchfont, England Antique needlework sampler by S. Stanton Pokeepsie i. Dowell, c. Cropper Worcester County, MD c. Antique needlework sampler, Abigil Rich Ware, Massachusetts dated The below sold items are a pleasure to browse through even though they’re no longer available. Ives, England Sold Caroline E. Probably Philadelphia, PA. One of a pair. Sold Martha O.
Antique Samplers at Auction
Many of us have heard for years that the purpose of the delightful and quaint samplers of centuries past were used as a sort of resume for young girls to show how skilled they were at needlework. We know them as the familiar cross stitch examples from early American settlers, but there are many types of samplers, including more obscure techniques like cutwork embroidery.
The earliest examples of samplers in Europe date to the 16th century, but extant examples from around the world can be traced back to between the 2nd and 5th centuries, such as those from Peru and Egypt. We know samplers today as folk art and proof of the skill of a marriage-age girl. This sampler from Egypt is from the 14th century.
An article about antique American samplers. There have been a few cases where the actual date sewn onto a sampler has been altered to make the piece.
Skip to main content Needlework Samplers. Love this series. So many wonderful ideas. See All Buying Options. Therefore the covers of the two books carry identical titles as well as similar artwork. Contents of the two books are completely different. From records that do exist, we can surmise that from very early times, needleworkers used the crudest of materials and tools to create utilitarian pieces that are today considered to be works of needle art.
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Dealers in antique English furniture of the Queen Anne, Georgian & Regency Antiques, where she specialises in historic embroidery and samplers dating from.
This amazing antique Dutch needlework sampler, made in the province of North Holland. It shows beautiful borders, letters, a heart, flower vases, a crown, a star and more! It is stitched on linen cloth with multi colored silk thread. Email me at antiquesamplers upcmail. This amazing antique Dutch Frisian sampler, showing typical Frisian letters, birds, a couple walking a dog and flower vases. It is dated This amazing 19th century Dutch darning sampler, showing various darning techniques and decorative stitching on tulle.
E-mail me at antiquesamplers upcmail. This beautiful antique Dutch cross stitch sampler, showing letters, numbers, crowns, birds, flowers, bunnies, a heart, a fruit tree and more! This wonderful and rare vintage needlework pattern of an antique Dutch sampler dating from The pattern dates from circa This colorful antique wool work sampler. It is Dutch and dates from the 19th century. This adorable antique Dutch wool work sampler dating from