Mary Cooper 1655
Origin and date: English 1655
Rated: Beginning to intermediate
Linen count and finished size: 35-count, 16-3/4″x8-1/4″
Stitches: cross, double running, Montenegrin, Italian cross, eyelet, running, and back
An early English band sampler, ex-collection The Scarlet Letter
The English seventeenth century polychrome band sampler was usually worked by a school girl between the ages of seven and twelve, as her first embroidery project. Extant pieces range from quite simple to quite sophisticated designs. Pattern books of the period were generally referred to only for more elaborate pictorial work. One type of ornamentation often appearing in printed books of the Baroque period is the popular Greek Fretwork pattern, which appears on this sampler. It is most likely that the type of stitches and patterns employed on these instructional band samplers were learned by observation of stitched samples, and by classroom demonstration. Mary Cooper’s sampler was not as finely worked as others of the period, which we have reproduced. Her linen was a bit coarse, as was the silk floss she used, but the pattern bands, color palette and stitches are representative of that half century’s body of sampler work. Using only five colors, she created a pleasing and symmetrical design that made use of various stitches listed below. Like the original, our reproduction is worked over three threads of linen, and is almost exactly the size of the original, at 16-3/4″x8-1/4″.