Linen: 35 count
Finished size: 15″x21-1/4″
Using traditional motifs from sixteenth century Italian textiles, this original design features a famous verse written by Lorenzo di Medici. It translates thusly:
But it passes so quickly
Enjoy it while it lasts, because
Tomorrow is uncertain
The band across the top is a stylistic representation of Neptune flanked by sea dragons. The three-sided outer border, consisting of acorns, leaves and flowers, first appeared in Matteo Pagano’s tome L’Honesto Essemplo del vertuoso desiderio che hanno le donne di nobil ingegno, circo lo imparare i punti tagliati a fogliami (published in 1550). The meandering tulip band first appeared in a German pattern book of 1524 titled Furm Oder Model Buchlein, and subsequently in two Italian publications of 1559 and 1564.
The interlaced leaves (executed in cross and counted satin stitches) were originally printed in Opera Nuova Composta per Domenico da Sera detto il Francoisino, by Domenico da Sera (1546). The large alphabet appears in a pattern book of 1561, collected by Giovanni Ostaus, while the smaller alphabet is from da Sera. Both bear a striking resemblance to Quaker sampler alphabets of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
The “shameless mermaid” appears on Italian and French textiles made in the fifteenth century. She proclaims PAX E BONUM (Peace and Plenty), and the inspirational Italian slogan Coraggio meaning “be strong, be courageous.” Two motifs on the sampler are derived from traditional Assisi work: the rampant lions flanking the verse, and the dolphin medallion. Two sections of Florentine bargello work complete the piece- one a cascading blue waterfall, and across the bottom a traditional wall of flamestitch worked in a Tuscan color palette.
Stitches used in the sampler are cross, back, double running, counted satin, tent, Florentine, and French knots.