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Sampler (Germany)

This is a Sampler. It is dated 1834 and we acquired it in 1981. Its medium is cotton and its technique is embroidered in satin, stem, knot, and back stitches with overcasting on plain weave foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Samplers are embroideries that showcase needlework skills. Sampler designs not only vary by date, but also by country and region. Like many other nineteenth century German samplers, this example was worked entirely in red thread on a cream-colored cotton ground. German samplers were among the first to include alphabets, and those from the nineteenth century often feature multiple versions, usually with one rendered in a Gothic script, as seen here. The maker’s delicate, naturalistic rendering of leafy wreaths and sprigs is also characteristic of samplers made in nineteenth-century Germany.

Although samplers were sometimes worked at home with a governess, this sampler was likely made at school. Many nineteenth-century German samplers of this style feature armorial crests that bear their school’s location and initials. “Dresden” and “O. P.” appear in the center of this example. The elaborate initials “H” and “E” on either side of the armorial may reference the maker’s instructor, and the scattered and sometimes repeating names that surround it could allude to the embroiderer’s classmates.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Stitches in Time.

This object was bequest of Gertrude M. Oppenheimer. It is credited Bequest of Gertrude M. Oppenheimer.

  • Sampler (England)
  • silk and linen embroidery on linen foundation.
  • Bequest of Rosalie Coe, from the collection inherited from her mother, Eva....
  • 1974-42-3

Its dimensions are

H x W: 36.8 x 41.3 cm (14 1/2 x 16 1/4 in.)

It is inscribed


Cite this object as

Sampler (Germany); cotton; H x W: 36.8 x 41.3 cm (14 1/2 x 16 1/4 in.); Bequest of Gertrude M. Oppenheimer; 1981-28-277

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Sampler (Germany) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=24 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>