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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1640-1680 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, embroidered with linen and silk threads, cutwork and applied needlepoint lace

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Michael Waterhouse

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 6, shelf DR1

Object Type
Samplers like this were exercises in embroidery and needle lace stitches and techniques, which had become well established as part of a girl's education by the middle of the 17th century. Typically in this long thin form, they were filled with rows of repeating patterns worked in coloured silks and whitework embroidery, sometimes interspersed with figures or floral motifs. This example also includes cutwork and needle lace.

Design & Designing
Samplers tended to follow tradition in their form. They often preserved motifs and patterns long after such designs had ceased to be part of contemporary fashion for the decoration of clothes and furnishings. The needlework skills demonstrated in these pieces, however, would be important attributes in a girl's adulthood, in the management of her household and the making, mending and decoration of her own and her family's clothes.

Ownership & Use
Following the usual development of needlework skills of a young educated girl in the mid-17th century, the maker of this piece had probably already completed an easier sampler in coloured silks. We know by comparison with signed and dated examples that she might have been aged only nine or ten when she made this.

Physical description

Sampler of unbleached linen embroidered with linen and silk threads, cutwork and applied needlepoint lace. Embroidered with some pink and green silks in satin, back, double-running, buttonhole and drawn fabric stitches with cutwork, needlepoint filling stitches and needlepoint lace.

The top two-thirds of the right hand side is occupied by needlepoint lace motifs made separately and stitched to the linen. These include two large roses, two smaller formal flowers, an acorn and geometric motifs. Part of the left hand side if filled with geometrical cutwork motifs, and the top part being left plain. The lower part has various border motifs - a band of cutwork at the top and six whitework borders of various dimensions including a formal pattern of acorns, stylised flowers and geometric motifs. At the bottom is a border of stylised flowers separated by bands of guilloche ornament worked in pink and green silk.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1640-1680 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, embroidered with linen and silk threads, cutwork and applied needlepoint lace


Height: 92.5 cm, Width: 25.2 cm, Height: 36.5 in, Width: 9.5 in

Descriptive line

Sampler of linen embroidered with linen and silk threads, cutwork and applied needlepoint lace, England, 1640-1680

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Samplers were embroidered by young girls as a needlework exercise. They tended to be tradition, even old-fashioned in design. Two of the lace patterns on this sampler have been taken from a book of designs (see photograph) 'A schole House for the Needle', published by Richard Shorleyker in 1632. [27/03/2003]


Embroidery; Textiles; Lace


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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