Dona Dorothea Gazano y Garcia

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Whether this is a Spanish, Mexican or Guatemalan sampler is uncertain but it exhibits design characteristics of all these cultures including the oblong shape as well as the pattern bands worked in a variety of stitches. The attribution “De Mano De DoÑa Dorothea Gazano y Garcia” is suggestive of a Spanish origin since she provides the surnames of both her father (Gazano) and her mother (Garcia). This line translates as “from the hand of (i.e. made by)”. The title DOÑA is an honorific that is used with a first name to indicate a woman of aristocratic birth or who is deserving of respect for age and/or wisdom.

The checkerboard stag in the upper right appears on several Mexican samplers in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The naturalistic Berlin style floral bands in the third register date this piece to post 1830.

The alphabets on the sampler vary and have some tales to tell. The first alphabet begins with the letter A and runs through J, L, M, N, Ñ (again)…U, V, X, Y, Z. This is a Spanish alphabet: there is no letter K nor letter W, and the N* is also included. The second alphabet includes the letter K, but omits the letter W. Words with the letters K or W in Spanish are not unknown, but are all loan words from other languages.

Traditional symbolic motifs include the stags, cockerels, ewers, and the crowned lion. The crowned lion is a symbol that appears frequently not just on Spanish samplers but also on the Spanish flag, coat of arms, coins, etc. It makes its appearance beginning with Isabel I who, when she married Ferdinand of Aragon in the 15th century, united the historic kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. Isabel was from Castilla-Leon+: the crowned lion symbolizes the kingdom of Leon+ (meaning “lion”). Not surprising;y a castle (castilla) is also depicted on the flag. The structure in the upper left of this sampler appears to be a church. The Greek key motif in the lower right of the sampler appears on many other Spanish samplers.

Stitches used are cross, back, and counted satin. On 30 count linen the reproduction will most closely approximate the size of the original- 19-1/2″ x 14″. The original sampler is in a private collection.

View the original antique sampler here

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