The Random Motif Sampler circa 1650
Origin and date: England, circa 1650
Linen count and finished size: 35 count, 9″x19-1/2″
Stitches: Tent, cross, double running, Queen, Hungarian, and arrowhead stitches
Source: The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England
There are two main theories on the purpose of random motif samplers, which were created in England from the late sixteenth to about the third quarter of the seventeenth centuries. One of those theories suggests that these slips, or long strips of linen, were randomly filled with motifs intended to be cut apart and applied to a larger piece of work, such as bed hangings or bedcovers, which would have been unwieldy to embroider as a whole piece. There are thirty detached motifs in this sampler.