They say good things come in small packages, and so it is with small scale samplers. This one is a wonderful example of a practiced schoolgirl sampler that features the alphabet in upper and lower cases with an everyday motto and a small set of numbers.
The piece was done almost entirely in cross stitch. Its simplicity, coupled with the single-colored stitching, small size and original frame make it irresistible. Ann Johnson was twelve years of age when she completed it; she was obviously skilled at embroidery at that young age.
For me, part of its charm is the motto that our young stitcher, Ann Johnson, chose to place in the center of her sampler: “By this you all may plainly see, What care my Mother took of me.” As a woman who had a very nurturing and supportive mother, especially when it came to traditional activities such as needlework, I learned to appreciate this type of work at a young age.
This sampler was stitched on a tightly woven linen ground, and it is housed in its original, narrow ebonized wood frame with a small rounded edge. The frame suits the sampler well and greatly adds to its appeal. There is an old piece of embossed paper, possibly wallpaper, on the back that has protected the sampler from dust, dirt and insect damage over the years.
The condition of the sampler is excellent, especially given its date of 1849. The linen has aged toned somewhat into a pretty shade of gold. The color retention in the black cotton thread is very good and helps create a nice contrast to the soft gold color of the linen background. The frame is also in excellent condition with just some wear to the black lacquered finish.
This sampler is an excellent example of Victorian schoolgirl embroidery, and due to its diminutive size and pleasing square shape, deserves a special place in your decorating scheme.
It measures 7-1/2 inches square.