An alphabet sampler carries the alphabet as its main feature. This is a form of sampler that became popular in the seventeenth century in northwestern Europe. Often the alphabet is repeated in low case, high case and in various fonts. It should not be confused with a marking sampler, in which a simple alphabet in capital letters is embroidered.
The Boston fishing lady embroidery series is a popular name given to a series of embroidered pictures dating to the mid-eighteenth century, some of which feature women fishing. Such embroidered images were popular in the Boston (Mass.) region of the USA and were made by female members of prominent New England families attending various Boston boarding schools, as a ‘certificate’ of their embroidery skills.
The Casdagli sampler is a form of trench art worked in 1941 by a British army officer, Major Alexis Casdagli. He was captured and imprisoned by the German forces early in the Second World War (1939-1945). After six months in a German Prisoner of War (POW) camp, Casdagli was given some embroidery canvas.
A commemorative sampler is a type used to commemorate one or more birthdays, weddings, funerals or special events within a family or community. This type of sampler was popular in Northern Europe and elsewhere from the seventeenth century onwards and is still being produced.
A feature of North European domestic needlework is the production of darning samplers. Darning samplers were made in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands between the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were usually made by school girls as part of their education, either at home or in a school class.
The Textile Research Centre, Leiden, houses a remarkable darning sampler which dates to 1781 and originates from Zeeland, in the southwest of The Netherlands. It is worked in silk thread on a linen ground. It has M R V D B OUD 13 JAAR 1781 (MRVDB aged 13 years 1781) embroidered on it using cross stitch.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses an English sampler worked by Mary Lane and dated 1766, which refers to two English eighteenth century songs, namely "Since all the downward tracts..." and "Since none can doubt...." The sampler is made of linen with silk thread embroidery. It measures 41.5 x 35.5 cm.
Elizabeth Parker (1813-1889) lived in Ashburnham, Sussex (England). She was the daughter of a local labourer. Elizabeth Parker produced a unique text sampler, which contains a long lament about a teenager’s life in the first half of the nineteenth century. She became a teacher at the Ashburnham Charity School and raised her sister’s daughter. She died in the Ashburnham Almshouses in 1889, aged 76.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam holds a remarkable sampler (acc. no. BK-NM-9987) that dates to the early eighteenth century and was made in the small town of Hindelopen in Friesland, in the north of The Netherlands. The ground material is made of linen, while the embroidery is made with silk, using Algerian eyelet, back stitch, cross stitch, hem stitch, square stitch, and staying stitch.
The Loara Standish sampler is the oldest known extant sampler in the USA, and was worked probably in the 1640's. The sampler is embroidered on fine linen (c. twenty threads per cm) using blue, green, pink and red silk thread. It is 60 x 18.5 cm in size. The stitches used include: Algerian eyelet stitch, back stitch, double running stitch, long-armed stitch and Montenegrin cross stitch.