Dating antique sampler
The inscription reads: ″IANE: BOSTOCKE 1598 ALICE: LEE: WAS: BORNE: THE:23: OF: NOVEMBER: BEING: TWESDAY: IN: THE: AFTER: NOONE:1596″ The museum has two other samplers believed to date from the 16th century, one from Germany with religious motifs and one from Italy with floral patterns and grotesques. A Dutch sampler dated 1585 survives in the Nederlands Openluchtmuseum in Arnhem.A sampler in the Museum of London has two cutwork bands stitched in silk, gold, and silver threads and thirteen bands of reticella whitework in white linen thread.The earliest sampler extant is a spot sampler, i.e.one having randomly scattered motifs, of the Nazca culture in Peru formerly in the Museum of Primitive Art, New York City. 200 BCE –300 CE and is worked in cotton and wool pattern darning on a woven cotton ground.It often includes the alphabet, figures, motifs, decorative borders and sometimes the name of the person who embroidered it and the date.The word sampler is derived from the Latin ‘exemplum’ - an example.It has seventy-four figures of birds, plants and mythological beings.Coptic sampler fragments of silk on linen in double running stitch and pattern darning have been found in Egyptian burial grounds of 400–500 CE.
Samplers were known to be used by stitchers in Europe as early as the beginning of the 16th century, although none that early have been found.
As the work of sampler making moved into schools in the late 17th and early 18th centuries design styles changed.
Alphabets and verses were added along with pictorial elements such as architectural motifs, landscapes, and large potted plants.
As there were few pre-printed patterns available for needleworkers, a stitched model was needed.
Whenever a needlewoman saw a new and interesting example of a stitching pattern, she would quickly sew a small sample of it onto a piece of cloth - her 'sampler'.