|Samplers have been documented
in Germany and Europe since the 16th century. Their origin is
not exactly known, there are even examples from Asia from the
9 th century.
The first known written documents come from England.
in: Nina Gockerell
first dated english sampler, 1598
silk yarn and metal thread
cross, satin, detached
buttonhole, plaited braid stich
The earliest printed pattern book was published by Johann Schönsperger
in 1523 in Augsburg with the title "Furm- und Modelbüchlein".
The most widespread might have being "Schön neues Modelbuch",
published in 1597 in Nuremberg by Johannes Sibmacher. Both were
reprinted in several editions.
Detail of the Cover of Johannes
Sibmacher's book (in: Nina Gockerell etc.)
In my opinion you can find the most detailed and vivid description
of the history of samplers in German in:
Nina Gockerell, Stickmustertücher, Deutscher
Kunstverlag, München 1980.
Here I found the reproductions.
Vierlande Samplers - Vierlande is the
name of an area near Hamburg, since 1868 part of Hamburg - represent
in the broad spectrum of the various samplers a peculiarity.
Vierlande is a region, "where traditions used to be honoured,
valuable property was painstakingly ornamented and then proudly
displayed at the highlights of village life such as christenings,
weddings and funerals. Even at a young age, girls practised cross
stitch with black silk or wool for their trousseaus. Their main
motifs were garlands of rosettes, as well as trees of life and crowned
lozenge-shapes, besides a few letters."*)
Originally they were stitched almost exclusively with black silk
on unbleached linen.
Their heyday was between 1770 and 1870.
They have an extraordinary remarkable charm by their structure,
density and grafical succinctness, so they seem to be very 'modern'.
||The rosette the circle
is regarded as a universal symbol of entirety, infinity, perfection
and is still in use in the wedding ring, in the bridal wreath
and in the funeral wreath.
||The rhombus lacking the top
symbolizes the female creative principle: the birth.
It is in representation of the vulva as well a
symbol of life of many goddesses of fertility in the folk art
of a great number of nations. The female rhombus
(lozenge?) turns into the loving heart.
||The cross the axis in a rosette
is often used for the axis of the world (earths
axis), the allegory of Christianity, the salvation of mankind.
||Various small motives have a figurative
sense: birds facing each other love, small trees
tree of life, angel angel of death, bird of death.
names often are abbreviated behind the initial letter of the
first two syllables, e.g. Trin-ke Kru-se:
TRKS, Met-te Lüt-ten-see:
Stitching is addictive.
And: THE WAY IS THE OBJECTIVE.
For many years I have been inspired by samplers.
There exist a great number of charts for wonderful historical samplers.
When I visited an exhibition in the former Museum of German Ethnology
Berlin (now: Museum of European Culture) and saw the/my first
Vierlande Sampler, a real passion has been awakened.
I tried to draw the patterns as exactly as possible. Stitch by stitch,
cross by cross. I 'moved' the motifs only a very little bit, honestly
respecting and admiring the young girls of the 18th and 19th century
who have created - without any computer - such a harmonic work of
Finally I added my name and the year(s) of beginning and finishing
of the embroidery.
*) Pattern and motifs
stitched and ornamented on textile ground
Verlagsgemeinschaft St. Gallen, Switzerland, 1996 (text: German
+ English), page 10
Stickmustertücher aus dem Museum für deutsche
Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin 1978 –
Die schönsten Stickmustertücher aus alter Zeit,
Rosenheimer Verlag, 1993 – 3. Auflage
Norddeutsche Stickmuster aus Vierlanden,
Rosenheimer Verlag 1986
Clare Browne and Jennifer Wearden,
Samplers from the Victoria and Albert Museum,
V&A Publications, 1999
**) Muster und Zeichen gestickt
und gesammelt auf textilem Grund,
VGS Verlagsgemeinschaft St. Gallen, 1996, Seite 10
Gill Speirs and Sigrid Quemby,
A Treasury of Embroidery Designs
Charts and Patterns from the Great Collections
Westbridge Books, London 1985
Stephen and Carol Huber,
Treasure or not? How to compare & value SAMPLERS,
Old Saybrook, Connecticut
SAMPLERS - 2nd ed. - (The Shire
book), 1977, wiederaufgelegt 2002
Ein Vierländer Stickmustertuch
in Ornamente 2/94
A. Meulenbelt-Nieuwburg, Irmgard Gierl,
Stickmotive aus alten Mustertüchern
Süddeutscher Verlag, 1984 – 2. Auflage
Stickmustertücher aus Altmark
Katalog zur Wanderausstellung von 1995 bis 1997, u.a. in Osterburg,
Magdeburg, Perleberg, Stendal, Havelberg, Gemeinschaftsprojekt
des Museumsverbundes Altmark und der Museen Havelberg, Perleberg,
Genthin und Haldensleben, Hrsg. Kreisheimatmuseum Osterburg,