French Religious Motif 1830


In France, samplers were named "marquoir", "marquette", or "abecedaries." The initialed letters of the "marquoir" or the family stamp was always stitched in red; a symbolic reference of the young girl's destiny as a woman. Red was also a strong and durable dye, resistant to multiple launderings and one that could easily be seen. The colorant widely used at the time was "common madder" or "rubia tinctorum".

The symbols on this sampler are numerous. The cross symbolizes faith, hope, and love; faith in Christ. The carnations are symbolic of true passionate love, the paired birds emphasizing eternal life. The crowns represent sovereignty and fidelity.

Depicted on this sampler there are two "IHS" symbols, or cristograms of Christ. The monogram can be interpreted as Jesus Hominum Salvator, (Jesus, Savior of Men) or In Hoc Signo, (in this sign).

The monogram with a cross usually springing from the cross-bar of the "H" as stitched on this sampler, first appeared in the 1760's and enjoyed a high popularity until the 1860's. Stitches executed are just cross. This sampler is recommended for any skill level.

The reproduction model was stitched on 35ct Lambswool by Wilchelt Imports. Design size is 8.5 X 9.5, 203 X 217 stitches. This sampler could easily be adapted to include your own family initials.

A big thank you to V. Jenkins in West Yorkshire England for finding this sampler.