Learn about Samplers

Samplers can be found dating back to the 16th century, but most samplers date from the 19th century, although 17th and 18th century examples can be found.

Their purpose was to teach girls from as young as 9 or 10 and young women a variety of sewing stiches through instruction and practice, in the era before examples were available in printed magazines and books. They also were an aid to teaching the embroiderer the alphabet and numerals - most samplers include both of these in the lower section.

Samplers often carry the name of the embroiderer and the date. Sometimes the age of the embroiderer is given and occasionally the name of her house or school. This information adds interest to the piece, and can also affect the value, particularly if it verifies that the sampler was completed in Australia.

Samplers were sewn on linen and wool or silk threads were used for the embroidery.

Coloured silk samplers tend to command the highest prices, particularly when combined with raised work and metal threads, such as gold or silver, which would only have been used by the wealthy. more...

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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

A needlework sampler, 18th century, by Mary Standing aged 9 years 1793, 40 x 32 cm

A Victorian darning sampler, English, 19th century, 41.5 cm high, 34.5 cm wide

A needlework silk on linen Sampler '1725', English, 18th century, 29.5 cm wide, 29 cm high

A needlework Sampler 'Mary T Chenhalls 1844', English, 19th century, 31 cm wide, 42 cm high

A needlework silk on linen Sampler '1725', English, 18th century, 21 cm wide, 41 cm high

A needlework Sampler 'Sarah Eardley March 23rd 1814', English, 19th century, 29.5 cm wide, 39 cm high

George II sampler dated 1753. Hand stitched exercise sampler named & dated by 'Abigail Bond her sampler Age 15 in year 1753 Mb Mh Rb' (the letters J & U are missing on all lines). Cloth 54 x 20 cm

An early Victorian sampler in burr elm frame, embroidered by Sarah Fearnley, 64x53 cm

A needle work sampler by Annie Petitt, Swansea, Tasmanian, dated 1866, further stitched Ap. Tasmania Nov

A sampler, possibly Tasmanian made by Mary Ann Pash, aged 7, 1847, 32 x 32 cm

A good and fine George IV sampler by Agnes Trotter Kerchesters 1829, with numerals, alphabets and traditional imagery including uncommon crowns and saying, worked in red, green and gold dominant tones. 36 cm x 32 cm

A George III silk and linen cross-stitch needlework sampler, 18th century, dated 1787, worked by Mary Braine Warkton taught by Mary Blackburn Kettering and dated Northamptonshire, 1848, 53 cm high x 64 cm wide. Provenance: Witney Antiques, England

A Victorian needlework sampler depicting Abraham sacrificing Isaac and the appearance of an angle, the reverse with a hand written note by Frank Robertson, Melbourne, January, 1895, stating that it was done by his Great Great Grandmother, framed and glazed

A late George III sampler, embroidered in autumn tones with house, trees, figures, animals, insects, ship and a floral border. Signed and dated Eliza Wisley Coward aged 11yrs 1810, in oak frame under glass. 52.5 x 40 cm

18th century sampler worked with petit point cross stitch, estate manor houses and gardens by Elizabeth Webb Cabburn, born at great Marlow 1792, 47 x 42 cm

A sampler with impressive pictorial needle work by Maria Le Leria, 1858, 54 x 47 cm

A sampler by Elizabeth Atherton, 1834 in a rosewood frame, 43 x 33 cm

A sampler with floral border by Sarah Ann McKean, 19th century, 43 x 34 cm

A fine sampler, silk and linen by Mary Ingram aged 13, 1839, 40 x 32 cm

A needlework sampler depicting Adam &. Eve by Mary Ann Naylor, Aged 9 years, 1851, later framed and glazed. 44 x 49 cm

Victorian needlework sampler with ornate design depicting plants, birds and children, a poem to bottom centre, dated 1848, 53 cm x 43.5 cm (frame)

Victorian needlework sampler "In Memory of Ruth Whitehead", dated 1849, 46.5 cm x 40 cm

Framed antique embroidered sampler by Emily Wood aged 8 years, 26 cm x 34 cm approx.

Victorian needlework sampler with a centre poem, dated 1853, 38 cm x 35 cm approx (frame)

Victorian needlework sampler with The Lord's Prayer, dated 1856, 37 cm x 47 cm approx (frame)

A rare 1780 'Map of England & Wales by Martha Wiggins' sampler, worked in coloured threads for the various counties, Cheshire, Derby, York, etc., their names in black thread, various sea's and channel's further detailed, an outer border

A Victorian child's needlework sampler by Norah G Stilwell, Hilfield, Yateley, circa 1880, 40 x 30 cm

A 1792 George III map sampler by Elizabeth Slade, 'A Map of England & Wales', each province named together with the various Channels, etc., floral vine border, worked in coloured threads including soft tones of red, yellow, gold, black, etc., named and dat

A Victorian child's sampler by Mary Ann Crack. 37 cm high, 31.5 cm wide