1890s unusual schoolgirl sewing sampler from a Belgian convent


1890s schoolgirl sampler made at a Belgian convent school; the red cross stitched lettering reads “Alice Jassogne á l’école normal des soeurs de la Providence á Champion” or, Alice Jassogne at the Normal School of the Sisters of Providence at Champion. “Normal Schools” in 19th century Belgium educated both ordinary students (usually from wealthy families) as well as those planning to become teachers.

This is an extraordinary piece, most likely representing a full year of sewing education, with each section demonstrating the student’s skill in a specific technique, as was typical. I have several other Belgian convent school samplers but all are worked as long strips and I’ve never seen one quite like this. The condition is excellent as it was obviously stored away and not intended for use or display.

Techniques include filet lace (the castle at bottom left), very fine knitting  (the four red squares, lower left), darning and mending (upper left), pleating, tucking and hemstitch on fine plain fabric (middle strip), net embroidery, soutache and other whitework embroidery, cross stitches for her name and the school, tatted, crocheted and needle-made lacework. There is a secret pocket hidden on the backside of one pleated fabric border, with a flap closed by 3 tiny pearl buttons.

Overall measurements are 29 inches wide by 42 inches high.

Exceptional condition with only a few age freckles and a few small yellowish stains, most noticeable on the whitework embroidery squares. No tears or damage. The fabric color is a soft off-white, with the actual color being somewhere in between the two main photos– it’s not a bright white but not ecru, either. The crochet and tatting thread is slightly darker than the fabric.

Shipping and insurance are included in the price, and a signature will be required at delivery.

Out of stock