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Darning Sampler, 1814 (CH 18616533)


Darning Sampler, 1814 (CH 18616533)



Ten squares of darning pattern, four patched corners, insert patch in center with crowned monogram and "gottmit uns" in a square.

The English word 'sampler' derives from the Latin 'exemplum', or the old French term 'essamplaire', meaning 'an example'. Before the introduction of printed designs, embroiderers and lacemakers needed a way to record and reference different designs, stitches and effects. The answer was to create a sampler – a personal reference work featuring patterns and elements that the owner may have learned or copied from others, to recreate again in new pieces. Such stitch and pattern collections may have been assembled in a number of cultures where decorative needlework was widely practised. Early examples rarely survive, but the quality of the oldest surviving samplers suggests they were made by experienced hands, as well as children, (in many cultures learning needlework was an important part of a young girl's education). The earliest in our collection were found in Egyptian burial grounds, and probably date from the 14th or 15th centuries.





Cooper–Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

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19th century
19th century