Snap Up a Sought-After Sampler
Byline: Bargain Hunter
EVEN after all these years, I can still remember the futile efforts of one of my primary school teachers to teach me how to sew.
My incompetence was such that I ended up feeling really sorry for her.
Perhaps because of my own lack of skill in this department, I've always appreciated it in others.
I'm clearly not alone in this appreciation, as collecting antique samplers, with their variety of stitches and motifs, is an extremely popular field.
The word sampler comes from the same root as the word example, meaning an example or model to be followed.
Some of the earliest samplers, from the 16th century, were made from long thin strips of linen worked in a variety of stitches.
These band samplers, as they're called, served as reference works for stitchers and were kept rolled up in a drawer until needed.
The earliest dated sampler is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Made by a Jane Bostocke in 1598 this isn't a band sampler, but what is known as a spot motif sampler, covered with a variety of different motifs worked in different stitches and colours.
These spot motif samplers were particularly popular in the 17th century and could be incorporated into bed hangings and costumes.
It was in the second half of the 18th century that sewing samplers came to be seen as part of a young girl's education. …