There often is evidence that young ladies were especially proficient in acquiring the necessary skills to create extraordinary pieces of needlework, especially considering their tender ages. In this exquisitely embroidered sampler, our stitcher, Mariana, exhibited her talents at the age of 12 years. Not only did she produce a complicated of embroidery by its virtue of the unusual number of motifs, but also her technical skill in the embroidery itself.
Her stitches are teeny. The work has to be examined carefully to best appreciate the work and time that went into this piece. She chose her motifs wisely; the shapes of each echo in some manner that of the others. They are so profusely placed that there is hardly a thumb’s space between them. The sampler was stitched on very fine linen, thereby giving the type of background that would allow her to do the exceptionally teeny stitches.
She used urns of flowers, small animals, birds, butterflies, trees, baskets of fruit, crowns, groups of flowers, baskets of flowers and other popular Victorian motifs to fill up her work. The end result is a richly embroidered sampler, brimming over with enchanting symbols throughout. Marianna placed a spiritual verse above the middle of her sampler, thus practicing both lower- and upper-case letters. The whole is enclosed in an undulating strawberry border, with stems, leaves and fruit.
On the bottom is her name, age and date: “Marianna. Mynott. Aged. 12. December. 1865.” She spaced this information most carefully across the bottom of the sampler, separating each word or number with a dot for even spacing.
The sampler is housed in its original Victorian frame with a narrow, gilded edge. The dark, reddish-brown color of the painted wood compliments the colors of the silk floss.
The condition of the sampler is excellent, especially for its age. The color retention of the luminous silk floss is exceptional. The background linen has age toned to a deep golden color. There is a slight amount of age staining and a small bit of gray, especially along the edges. However, these typical issues add considerable antique character to this wonderfully embroidered sampler. As the sampler has been in its original frame all these years, there is a slight amount of puckering throughout.
The frame is in excellent condition, having only a few small losses of the enameling. The gilded edge of the frame does show considerable loss of gold leaf; these losses appear as light gray or black in color.
It measures 14-1/2 inches wide by 19-1/2 inches high, including the frame.
Victorian Silkwork Sampler Dated 1865