Mary Ann Hutton 1801 A Christmas Sampler
Origin and date: England or America, 1801
Linen count and finished size: 25 count, 17-3/4″ square
Stitches: Cross stitch
Source: Private collection
Unlike today, historically samplers were not sewn to commemorate holidays, weddings, births or other occasions (with the notable exceptions of family record and mourning works). While this particular sampler might appear to have been ahead of its time, in fact it is simply an anomaly. However the choice of color (predominantly reds and greens), the evergreen tree at the bottom, and the verse from a popular new Christmas hymn in 1801, result in a piece that is perhaps even more meaningful today than it was when it was first made. Today’s Christmas conventions were largely unknown in 1801, which gives this piece a sense of timelessness. Whether the sampler is English or American in origin remains under debate. It was worked on a loosely woven homespun linen, with rather coarse silk flosses. The colors were preserved exactly as you see them on this reproduction.