Tablet Sampler circa 1755
Origin and date: England, 1755
Linen count and finished size: 35-count, 22″x27-1/2″ or on 40 count, 19″x24″ – The color photo will vary slightly from the graph. The model was stitched with silk floss, on 40 count line. Always follow the graphs and not the photo. Please SPECIFY 35 or 40 count linen when ordering.
Stitches: cross stitch is the primary mode of execution, with some embellishments of stem, satin, double running, and petit point stitches.
Source: From the collection of The Scarlet Letter
The earliest tablet format samplers were created in England during the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The inspiration for the design was derived from the painted signboards often posted in English churches at that period, displaying religious slogans and Biblical excerpts for the edification of the literate members of the congregation. Many of these eighteenth century painted boards still survive and are displayed in English parish churches. The form was ultimately derived, of course, from Moses’ Tablets, and on samplers the Ten Commandments were often stitched within that surround, along with Biblical verses. The exuberant, naturalistic, possibly a pattern exercise to prepare the unnamed sampler maker for the next logical step up in embroidery. On the original sampler cross stitch is the primary mode of execution, with some embellishments of stem, satin, double running, and petit point stitches. The emphasis on the printed message, and the use of mainly cross stitch, indicate the sampler’s gradual evolution from the elaborate pattern and stitch records of the seventeenth century, to the more literary and pictorial image that became increasingly popular later in the eighteenth century. No longer was the purpose and emphasis of the sampler an exercise in technique and patternmaking: it was becoming an educational tool for budding housewives and artists.