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Marie Cantais 1877 Reproduction Sampler - Couleur Tourterelle
Reproduction Sampler - French 19th Century

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Linen and Threads


Stitched in 1877, this sampler stands at the threshold of a new area in needlework, featuring two very different styles.

In France by 1877, many samplers are now worked in woollen yarn on canvas, as is the case here, and new printed color designs known as “Berlin motifs” have become popular, such as the little dog motif picked from a chart.

Many other elements however still have traditional features found in samplers of the first half of the nineteenth century, and probably reproduced from or inspired by an existing stitched model.

The letters stitched in red are from the traditional Linenmaid’s alphabet already in use in France for over a century, generation after generation, for initiating young girls to embroidery and for identifying household linen. Preceding letter « A » is a cross, the « croix de par Dieu », reminding children to cross themselves before reciting the alphabet.

Other motifs such as the little citrus tree in its planter – with the charming detail of the fallen lemon – as well as the tree on the right and the geometric borders reflect the simpler style of earlier samplers.

The 7-year-old stitcher signs her work in quite a discreet manner, « Marie Cantais âgée de 7 ans », no doubt as a final touch, using a more sophisticated alphabet, silk thread and working her cross stitches over a single fabric thread.   

The stitcher's family origins have been traced to Lillebonne, a small town in Normandy. 

The sampler is part of the personal collection of Meriem Chauvet of Couleur Tourterelle. The reproduction cross stitch chart strictly reproduces every stitch of the original sampler (see last photo).

Stitch Count: 140W x 128H
Linen: 36 Count Edinburgh Linen, colour 770 Platinum.
Stitches: One over two linen threads


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