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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1660 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mason, Margret, born 17 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen embroidered with silks

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Janet Harris, Susan M. Jones and Lynda Smith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

During the 17th century in England, samplers developed from personal reference works for embroiderers, containing trials of patterns and stitches to methods of instruction and practice for girls learning needlework. This example has bands of repeating patterns suitable for the decoration of household linen and clothing, together with alphabets and the maker's name and date, indicating a desire by Margret Mason, who worked it, to mark her achievement.

Physical description

Long sampler cut from the full width of a piece of tightly-woven linen. The selvedges form the top and bottom edges, the long sides being turned in and hemmed.

Embroidered with coloured silks in double running, two-sided Italian cross, close herringbone, satin, long-armed cross, Montenegrin cross, Algerian eye, cross, trellis, fern and chain stitches, and detached buttonhole stitch, with eyelets.

Band sampler (unfinished):
First band [1]. Zig-zag line crossed by S-shapes with lilies between.
2. Two 'boxer' figures with plant between.
3. Elaborate leafy stems forming U-shaped compartments containing exotic flowers. Outline stitches only.
4. Zig-zag line with interlaced knots at each point and lilies between.
5. Simple 'coiling' stem with strawberry plants in each U-shaped compartment.
6. Outline picture of a house with a formal garden to one side.
7. Large-scale 'coiling' stem pattern showing a single U-shaped compartment containing a carnation plant.
8. Alphabet and ampersand with the date '1660'.
9. Lower-case alphabet worked in Algerian eye stitch.
10. The name 'MARGRET MASON'
11. Unfinished band with an interlaced pattern.
12. Start of another interlaced pattern.
13. 13.25 inches (8 cms) piece of plain linen.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1660 (dated)


Mason, Margret, born 17 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Linen embroidered with silks

Marks and inscriptions

Embroidered in silk

Date embroidered in silk


Height: 72.5 cm, Width: 17.5 cm, Height: 28.5 in, Width: 7 in

Object history note

Registered File number 1987/1726.
The sampler is one of a group of six mid-17th century samplers all associated with the Mason family and handled down in the family of the donors. T.182 to 187-1987 in the collection.

This is typical of the samplers worked by young girls under supervision at home. The signing and dating of samplers developed during the early years of the reign of Charles I (1625-1649) which suggests that by that time, they were a well established part of a young girl's education.

Descriptive line

Linen sampler embroidered with silks, Margret Mason, England, 1660

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Browne, Clare and Jennifer Wearden, eds. Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 1851773096.


Linen (material); Silk thread



Subjects depicted

Alphabets; Flowers; Zigzags


Household objects; Textile; Embroidery


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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