17th Century Samplers

The seventeenth century is considered the Golden Age of sampler making in England. Samplers made during this period exhibit extensive stitch variety in combination with sophisticated designs and use of color. In some examples counted thread stitches on linen were combined with panels of floral, geometric, or figural cut and drawn work: a technique whereby the background threads of linen are carefully cut and drawn away to reveal the desired pattern. Distinctive motifs emerged during this period, among them the Boxer, a corrupted human form derived from putti in Renaissance art. The figure is in a pugilistic stance, often holding a fruit or a flower aloft. Other patterns used derived from Frederico de Vinciolo’s 1587 pattern book Singuliers et Nouveaux Pourtraicts, including bird motifs as seen in the Side by Side band sampler of 1675, and in Ann Lawle’s band sampler of circa 1650. Other popular motifs include oak leaves, honeysuckle, carnations, roses, Stuart S motifs, peas in a pod, pansies, strawberries, daisies, acorns, cherries, fleur de lis, artichokes, grapes, and diaper motifs. This group of samplers is among the most challenging we offer.