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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    middle of 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen embroidered with silk and linen, and partly filled with needle lace

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In their earliest form, samplers were put together as personal reference works for embroiderers. They were trials of patterns and stitches that had been copied from others, and records of particular effects achieved that could be recreated again. This is a type known as a band sampler. With the composition of band samplers comes the first clear indication in England of the form being used as a method of instruction and practice for girls learning needlework. This unfinished example is one of a type that combines repeating patterns worked in coloured silks with areas of cutwork (holes that are cut and then bound by stitches) and needle lace stitches, working from either end towards the middle.

Physical description

Linen sampler embroidered with silk and linen in double running stitch and with cutwork. Long narrow sampler cut from a full width of tightly-woven linen, the selvedges form the top and bottom edges, and the other two sides are turned and hemmed.

One end worked to the depth of 18 inches (46 cms) with 12 bands containing variations on the zigzag and angular 'coiling' stem motif with upright and diagonal floral sprigs. Dull red, green and blue silk in double running, running, stem, long-armed cross, trellis and speckling stitches.

The other end worked to the depth of 8.25 (21 cms) with three unfinished bands of cutwork which clearly show the method of working. The completed portion of each band is filled with needle lace worked in detached buttonhole stitches in reticella patterns.

The central 8.375 inches (21 cms) of the sampler is unworked.

Place of Origin

England (made)


middle of 17th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen embroidered with silk and linen, and partly filled with needle lace


Height: 88.3 cm, Width: 12.7 cm, Height: 34.75 in, Width: 5 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.

Descriptive line

Linen sampler embroidered with silk and linen, England, middle of 17th century

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. 46 p., ill. ISBN 1851773096.


Linen (material); Linen thread; Silk thread


Embroidered; Needle lace making

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Zigzag


Household objects; Textile; Lace; Embroidery


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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