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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    mid 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen embroidered with silk and linen

  • 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, and it combines blackwork embroidery with pulled thread work. 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.

Physical description

Sampler of linen embroidered with silk and linen in double running and long-armed cross stitch, with pulled thread work. Cut from a piece of tightly-woven linen, the bottom edge formed by the selvedge and the other edges turned and hemmed.

The top seven inches (17.5 cms) are embroidered with black silk in long-armed cross and double running stitches. Eight different border patterns, varying in depth from 0.5 to 2 inches (1 to 5 cms), are based on an angular 'coiling' stem with stiff fruit and flowers. The patterns are arranged in two incomplete columns. In the empty space below the left-hand column is a simple wavy line motif worked with white linen thread in double running stitch, and a motif, possibly a letter B, worked with beige silk in double running stitch.

The remaining 11.25 inches (28.5 cms) of the sampler is divided into twelve bands of drawn-thread work, varying in depth from 0.5 inch to 1.25 inches (1 to 3 cms). The narrower bands are decorated with simple needle-woven patterns. The four wider bands are divided into small squares by over-cast bars, filled with interlace stitches to form geometric patterns.

Place of Origin

England (made)


mid 17th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen embroidered with silk and linen


Height: 45.5 cm, Width: 20.5 cm, Height: 18 in, Width: 8 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, mid 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. 144 p., ill. ISBN 1851773096.


Linen (material); Silk thread; Linen thread



Subjects depicted

Flowers; Fruit


Household objects; Textile; Embroidery


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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