Pictorial Motif Sampler,

Pictorial Motif Sampler,

Netherlands, 1744

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sampler size: 13½” x 13¼” • frame size: 16½” x 16¼” • sold

Samplers made by Dutch schoolgirls in the 18th and 19th centuries, at their finest, can offer a breathtaking combination of excellent pictorial elements and technique. This is one of the most appealing Dutch samplers that we have come across in many years. Dated 1744, the samplermaker’s initials were likely AD as they are contained in the same cartouche. Some of the classic Dutch depictions that she included are the Spies of Canaan, Spinning Monkey and Adam and Eve. Objects, fruit and animals, such as furniture vignettes, apple, pear, hart and female deer, rooster, stork and two versions of a heart appear throughout. Notably, a mermaid depicted holding a parrot and tulip and sitting on a bit of wavy water was stitched, and this element is infrequently found. It was most likely made in the Noord province.

The most notable part of the composition of this sampler is the lowermost border. The block formation – which also appears in the upper corners – is unusual and was rarely used on any Dutch sampler. It is the parade of thirteen tiny animals and one gentleman, though, that is most captivating. And, in that it has not been found on any other Dutch needlework, this renders an element of great rarity to this sampler.

The needlework is extremely tight and fine throughout. A photo of the back of the sampler (shown below) taken prior to mounting is highly instructive. Worked in silk on very fine linen, it in excellent condition with one very minor area of loss to the linen (underneath the rooster’s tail). It has been conservation mounted and is in a 19th century beveled, gold leaf frame.

(photo of the reverse of the sampler)

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