American and European Embroidered Samplers, 1600–1900

The embroidered samplers in this installation were chosen for their practical character: each displays skills and knowledge acquired during the educational process and preserves this expertise for future reference.

Art Exhibition previously on at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, United States.
From Sunday 15 November 2015 to Monday 15 February 2016

American and European Embroidered Samplers, 1600–1900 image

Published by anonymous on Tuesday 09 February 2016.
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While these are notably functional samplers, even with more decorative examples, the maker’s skill and creativity were tempered by her adherence to traditional patterns, passed down over the years by means of earlier samplers, patterns books, or instructional manuals.

Samplers were made as part of a young woman’s education, either at a formal school or under informal tutelage at home. Through most of the eighteenth century, in both Europe and America, most girls were expected to learn only practical skills—basic reading, writing, and sums, along with sewing and cooking—to prepare them for their roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers.

The Museum has more than eight hundred samplers from Europe and North America. The survival of so many of these embroideries indicates a continuing appreciation for the skill they demonstrate, for their charming variations on a theme, and, perhaps most of all, for the names of the makers, which were proudly added to many of these pieces when their work was done. For many, these samplers are the only remaining trace of the lives they lived.