ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews, articles

  Gieneke Arnolli & Rosalie Sloof, Letter for Letter. Merklappen in de opvoeding van Friese meisjes, Waanders Uitgevers, Zwolle/Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, 2004, text in Dutch, extensive summaries of each chapter in English, illustrated predominantly in colour, bibliography
Euro 30.-, ISBN 90 400 9016 5

More information from: Fries Museum
Postbus 1239, 8900 CE Leeuwarden, Netherlands

  This comprehensive and very well illustrated publication deals with the extensive collection of over 600 samplers in the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden from the angle of the role they played in the education of girls in the Province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands.
While many of the samplers can be related to different schools, it has only occasional proved possible to determine a given style of a given area, because different schoolmistresses brought their own styles with them, so that there can be big differences even beween samplers made in the same town. Some overall characteristics are noticeable, however.

Study of the samplers reveals how domestic virtues were inculcated in girls from an early age, the motifs on samplers clearly reflecting this.
ABC books feature the same alphabets as those on the samplers, while some of the pictorial motifs echo illustrations in children's books.
The authors clearly show how the various components of samplers were put to practical use. Alphabets provide letters for the marking of linen, as well as the elaborately decorated "Frisian letters", which figure prominently on embroidered bed linen. Motifs worked in colours on samplers were used in white to decorate shirt neckbands. One chapter in the book is devoted to highly personal motifs worked by some of girls on their samplers.

Darning samplers receive due coverage. The advent of the Berlin woolwork craze and its influence on samplers are described, as is the increasing standardization of samplers in the 19th century. This culminated in 1878, when a new act of parliament on elementary education imposed nationwide standardization on the teaching of needlework and finally put an end to the distinctive Frisian sampler. (Abstract sent by Pat Griffiths).

  Sampler, Fries, 1708, Initials DP
Collection of Textile Museum St.Gallen, Nr 20092


Sampler, Fries, 1744, name: Jetske Ians
Collection of Textile Museum St.Gallen,
Nr 20092



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