Two pictures worked in black silks on white satin, in a technique called ‘blackwork’. A Holbein stitch (every other stitch in one direction and then run the reverse so that the pattern is the same on the front and back) is used to create shades by stitching geometric shapes in different densities.
In the early 18th century samplers became more square, rather than the long narrow shape that had previously been created.
Originally girls would have embroidered one or two samplers followed by a panel or picture, but from the 18th century this was often combined into one piece. These pieces could be displayed like a painting.
Samplers increasingly had a pictorial focus or included lengthy inscriptions of moral or religious verse. Often they would have embroidered border patterns, usually nature motifs, fashionable in textile design.
By the mid-18th century, embroidering a house and garden and adding local detail, such as a windmill or dovecot, had become a favourite choice of subject.
Ellis Collection 47