This is a finely worked, unfinished German sampler, made circa 1770 and exhibiting a wonderful polychrome palette. Employing a composition similar to those found on early Dutch samplers, this samplermaker worked fine motifs, whimsical curlicue lettering and outstanding decorative bands. Dutch and German samplers can closely share many attributes and this tends to make it difficult to decipher a specific origin. We asked the opinion of noted sampler scholar, Margriet Hogue, who has studied and written about Northern European samplers and she gave us her thoughts on this particular sampler:
"I feel that it's German. At first I thought Dutch, as the satin stitch birds are usually only seen on Dutch (Fries) samplers and then the initials. The furniture at the bottom is more in the German style as are Adam and Eve with the fence and gate. Some of the bands are seen on German samplers. The top alphabet is a Germanic alphabet but sometimes seen on Dutch samplers. There are some Dutch influences so perhaps a teacher."
The initials, IANT were repeated twice, once in the excellent curlicue lettering and again within the cup-like cartouche, leaving us to assume they are those of the maker; although the centered empty cartouche would more likely have surrounded the maker's initials. Possibly, IA and NT were those of her parents. The ship, more commonly found on Dutch samplers, has been known as a symbol of hope, security and an emblem of marriage. The delightful little table and chairs are said to be a symbols of hospitality. Many motifs like these, and likely a variety of potted flowers, were to fill the linen and complete the sampler. Like most samplers of this nature, precise cross stitches were used throughout, as in this case as well. The sawtooth border and the pair of blue birds below it are worked in variations of a satin stitch.
Worked in silk on linen this sampler remains in excellent condition. It has been conservation in a molded and painted frame.