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E Loir Reproduction Sampler - Couleur Tourterelle
Reproduction Sampler - French 19th Century

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Linen and Threads


While the stitcher only signed her work with a initial and her family name : « FAIT PAR E. LOIR » (Made by E. Loir) - no first name, no date, no location - several elements help date the it back to early French 19th century, around 1830.

Indeed the sampler features a classical religious motif featuring a catholic church altar, with a discreet border. The letters of the single alphabet are the characters from the « Linen maid’s alphabet*»  reproduced in Diderot & d’Alembert’s Encyclopaedia and used by linen maids for identifying pieces of household linen. 

There is no monumental altar, as featured in many South of France samplers of the time. Instead, the altar is simply suggested by the position of the central monstrance and two church candles and flower bouquets on either side. Below is a large cross. The sampler could therefore have come from northern France and possibly Normandy where the name is most frequently found.

You will notice the alphabet includes the Ampersand character « & », considered up to the 19th century to be the last letter of the alphabet, just after letter “Z”. There is no letter “W” however as this letter was only introduced officially in the French alphabet much later in 1936.

Finally the « Croix de par Dieu » cross is another feature of French Samplers. Placed just before letter A, it was a reminder for children to cross themselves before reciting the alphabet. 

The original sampler (last photo) is square  (10 x 10 inch - 25 cm x 25 cm). As the charted design (181 x 201 stitches) is slightly rectangular, the reproduction sampler was stitched on unevenweave linen in order for the sampler to be square, like the original. You can however stitch on regular (evenweave) linen and the stitched piece will be slightly rectangular (9 x 10 inch - 22,6 cm x 25 cm).

Stitch Count: 181W x 201H
Colours: 13


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