This lovely Mid to Late 19th Century Dutch Marking & Pictorial Sampler (unknown maker), under glass sporting a handsome grain painted frame is not only cheerful but also enthralls us with pleasing design elements. A schoolgirl decided to get creative with the last (bottom) section of her work incorporating an array of floral baskets along with two human figures and a sheep that add whimsical presence in this textile for all to enjoy. Though this piece may be considered naïve in style as the letters in the top two rows reflect……we need to remember that these were practice samplers which are considered, “School Girl Art”.
This piece has suffered some loss through the years. However the charm, strong color and buoyancy are still evident creating resiliency that seems to undermine the effects of age. There is no evidence that this sampler was ever framed when I purchased it and was probably exposed to the elements and left unprotected. The good news is, this rescued textile now has a new home under glass that ensures its survival for a very long time.
This sampler was worked on a silk ground using silk thread. Tiny flowers represented to divide the two sections of the alphabet sport red and blue vibrant colors. The side borders are comprised of a variety of three different patterns while the top shows an inverted “V” pattern. A horizontal pattern of red geometric leaves dominates the bottom as does the left side but the thread of choice used consists of an ivory color instead.
The middle (largest) basket filled with an array of cornflower blue and ivory flowers is the focal point. Two opposing handled baskets sporting geometric flowers that capture the same color theme lend balance to the middle. A darling sheep guards the basket off to the right sporting a territorial stance and takes interest to what may be inside. Two human opposing figures shown on either side of the top basket of flowers lend a folksy presence. Lastly, two cornucopias boasting green, ivory and pink seem to be floating in midair and adorn the upper portion of the pinwheel shaped flowers.
Cheesecloth was placed under the sampler to help protect it while lending a soft look gently protruding the outer edge at the top, shown randomly on the sides and also under the fabric loss areas. There are no odors present and this piece exhibits minimal stains.
The frame is contemporary and grain painted by a special folk artist that is part of the “Early American Life” artisan directory. She chose a rich, mustard color incorporating a warm, crushed walnut hue exhibiting a unique and strong design feature to the overall look as shown in images 17 through 25. The back is covered in a neutral burlap color that adds plenty of texture. A wire hanger is provided secured by tabs that accommodate two screws as shown in images 26 through 28.
This wonderful sampler is a nice size and will enhance any wall it is placed on! The colors are strong and the overall look is very appealing lending happy floral features that create joy and lifts our spirits! You certainly have to give this little girl credit for the fortitude and determination it took for her to execute and complete each cross stitch that created either the design elements, letters or numbers. Good girl! Enjoy!
Sampler measures16 ¼” tall by 14 ¼” across (right to left).