This extraordinary piece of history is a choice section of a classic English band sampler from the 1st quarter of the 17th century, and likely worked by a professional or court embroiderer. All the iconic motifs are included– a raised, multi-petaled rose, lions, court ladies in fancy dress, and “boxers” (the little figures with arms raised in a defensive posture). The entire original sampler probably measured 6 to 10 feet long; this portion measures about 6 by 13 inches.
This sampler is in very good condition, both the ground fabric and stitching– no holes or missing stitches. The workmanship is remarkable. There are real gold metal threads in the band with the lions and rose which have tarnished and darkened. The tiny ladies below the lions have detached buttonhole stitch skirts, and one still clasps a natural pearl in her hands.While the front of the sampler is somewhat faded by light and the passage of time, the colors are still quite vivid on the reverse (shown in the last 3 photos). It would be marvelous to frame this so that both sides could be viewed.