Unknown Large Ship
For many years we categorized this as a Dutch sampler. After reviewing the wonderful online resource of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum collection, we feel that the motifs are consistent with the samplers they categorized as originating from Germany. Comprised of essentially four bands, it is unnamed but bears the initials IFH and the date of 1752. The IFH should not be confused with the Christogram IHS representing Jesus Christ.
The first band contains two couples, both in period dress. A shepherd and shepherdess contrast significantly with the elaborate and ornate costume of the aristocratic couple. Next is a tall narrow house, and you can easily guess why we originally placed this piece in the Netherlands. Notice that below the house band is a seam - the ground for the sampler is joined, combining two shorter lengths into one longer piece. The samplermaker stitched a row of crowns immediately before the join, but then carried over the mast and flag of the ship below to better merge the top and bottom pieces. Our theory is that two separate samplers were created, most likely by the same person, and then joined later.
To us the main feature of this sampler is the single-masted ship, complete with sail, ropes and living quarters. After studying ships of the time period, we believe it is a cog, a boat that was common on the river ways of Europe. The size of the vessel speaks to the importance of boats in the life of the samplermaker. She must also have been a fan of frogs, if the size of the one perched on the stern of the boat is any indication.
The final band has been divided down the middle, with Florentine patterns to the left and alphabets and numerals to the right. Interestingly, the Florentine patterns are done in cross stitch, rather than straight stitches. The initials IFH and ANNO 1752 are within the alphabet section.
Size (W x H): 11 3/8 x 31 3/4 inches
Stitches: Cross, outline, split
Media: Silk on cotton
IFH ANNO 1752
(This sampler was added to the site on December 02, 2016)