Hands Across the Sea Samplers are proud to present to you, a beautiful reversible band sampler from the private collection of Nicola Parkman. Bathya’s sampler has a remarkable history and takes pride of place in Nicola’s collection.
There is so much to delight in her sampler. She used a wide repertoire of stitches of varying intricacy. The variety of stitching techniques in the rows of the sampler are a testament to Bathya’s embroidery skills. Such skills were considered particularly important, not only to the management of the young maker’s future household and family, but they would also have served as evidence of her education and of her parents’ ability to provide her with one.
The stitches include two different versions of reversible cross stitch. One forms a cross on the reverse with a vertical stitch on the left, and the other a four sided stitch on the reverse. Bathya also used double back stitch and diagonal double back stitch. These stitches appear plaited from the front and as two parallel rows of back stitch on the reverse. You might know them as closed herringbone.
Others stitches used were double sided Italian stitch, alternating double back stitch in groups of three, which represents the Trinity, detached buttonhole, French knots, four sided stitch, satin stitch, stem stitch, eyelet, running stitch and Holbein stitch (double running stitch). The alphabet towards the top of the sampler demonstrates her ability to mark household linen. It was common practice to include initials and numbers on household linens so that women could track their household goods when they were laundered.
Bathya’s whitework bands are particularly elegant. Narrow whitework bands were an important part of a stitcher’s repertoire, they were used on collar bands both as an adornment and as stiffening so that the collars would stand proud. On some samplers whitework bands were stitched with linen thread that had been withdrawn from the actual ground.
Samplers containing whitework, cutwork, and needle lace were attempted after basic skills were already mastered.
Although Bathya is a Hebrew name we believe that she came from a family that supported the Crown due to the motifs Bathya stitched in her sampler. There are numerous acorns. The acorn had a symbolic association with the Royalist cause in the 17th century after Charles II hid in an oak tree when fleeing the Roundheads in 1651.
The sampler features two sunflowers. Charles I was known as the sun king before Louis the XIV of France gained the title. The sun flower follows the sun and it came to signify the Stuart monarchy by Royalist supporters. Sunflowers symbolise adoration, loyalty and longevity. One of the sunflowers on the sampler has no seeds. After studying under magnification every single stitch Bathya made we do not believe that this was an oversight. Bathya was a meticulous needleworker. We wonder if she deliberately left the centre of the one sunflower empty to represent Charles II’s wife Catherine of Braganza who was barren.
If you would like to stitch Bathya’s sampler reversibly there is an extensive online workshop that can be purchased separately HERE.