7 " x 8 ". 12" x 13 1/4 " including a very nice 19th century rosewood frame. This gorgeous sampler fea- tures pulled work, cutwork and lots and lots of
exceptionally complex stitches. This type of needle- work was only ever done in the 17th century. I am giving this a circa date of 1680, but it very well may be
quite a bit earlier. Needlewomen today are beginning to bring back the popularity of this type of advanced needlework but today, just as it was in the 17th century, this type of work is only for the very ad-
vanced stitcher. So of course, an example of this type of needlelace is very rare. And I think it is quite charming that the final band of the sampler is
unfinished and it even has the stitcher's working thread still attached. It gives you an opportunity to see the work in progress and get a glimpse of how these bands of cutwork were made.
Originally, the sampler would have been much, much longer, probably another 15 - 20 inches longer. But as the sampler shows, only the top of the piece was finished. There is a cut edge along
the bottom of the fabric. It would have been impossible to frame a piece with all that blank fabric. So most likely, at some point someone cut off the remaining blank fabric. Even though this is
an unfinished sampler, it is still quite lovely framed. The workmanship is excellent and it is a beautiful
and rare piece of needlework history.
Considering the extreme age of this sampler, the
condition is amazingly good. As mentioned, it is not a complete sampler, but there are no holes in the fabric and no thread losses. Certainly the fabric has darkened over the years, but the
needlework is intact and still very beautiful. The sampler has been mounted on acid-free board. This is an opportunity to own a 17th century
reticella sampler at a very affordable price.