The maker of this interesting sampler left behind some clues that are important as this symbolic information helps to determine the history of this wonderful example worked by a child. A lady I consult with regarding samplers is extremely knowledgeable and provides valuable insight into each piece I share with her including this example. Thank you Barbara!
This sampler is enriched with a plethora of religious symbolism starting with the first alphabet rows that begin with a cross that is sometimes referred to as “criss-cross row” or “God’s cross”. It is almost like saying a prayer before you begin your work. The cross on the hill executed in turkey red and alternating ecru thread located on the right hand side may indicate the symbol for the “Carmelite Sisters”. A crown and the two hearts symbolize God as well as the rooster and lion that indicate a key to God’s love.
The letter “W” seems to be omitted which again gives us insight that this is probably an Italian example not to mention a wider width that the Italians preferred but did not always choose. The thread used seems to blend in with the linen ground but then the maker surprises us with turkey red stitches that make up a portion of the alphabet along with the cross, dog, tree and her initials of “R.C.”
The cotton thread used to implement the stitches in this sampler gives us a clue that this textile dates after the1840 period. There are other initials on the bottom towards the right of “R.C.” but they are hard to make out. They could quite possibly be family members. The two opposing hearts are pleasantly dotted with a folk art bird and smaller heart in the middle with yet another floating heart placed just above. Other symbols appear in the form of a key, urns sporting flowers, small baskets along with other heart motifs sprinkled randomly throughout.
The red thread has some minor fading present and possesses mellow undertones of soft hues. This piece is in good overall condition without any holes present. The edge referenced in image 12 shows minor separation near the bottom portion of this textile. A couple areas near the top present pale, age related dark areas that are not prominent and therefore hard to detect.
I rescued this sampler from a hideously ornate and way too large frame. Upon doing so I carefully removed the sticky paper tabs used to hold it in place. There are a couple areas that were troublesome so I left the small pieces of paper intact not to disturb the sampler as shown in images 21, 22 & 23.
This unique sampler would look beautiful laid across a table or desk because of the length and can act as a runner situation. This particular horizontal size is not easily found. **Sidenote: To protect and preserve samplers you may want to use acid free paper underneath the wood surface you are laying it on and fold it under the sampler so it will not show. Of course, the best way to protect samplers such as this one is to have them professionally mounted, under glass and framed to adorn any wall in your home lending history and importance to any room. One can certainly get lost in the symbolic motifs left behind from this child for us to interpret! Enjoy!
Sampler measures 25 ¾” long (right to left) and measures 9” tall (front to back).