> When doing black work, from about 1550-1600, did people make samplers? Or
> pictures? Or just embellish clothing?
Someone else has already mentioned the Bostoke sampler. I'll turn your
question around a bit, and instead of answering what you asked, I'll
answer "Was blackwork used on anything other than clothing?"
The answer is a resounding "yes". There are numerous examples of
household textiles decorated with blackwork. These include cushion
covers, bedspreads, etc. Some of the best examples you'll find are in
Mary Gostelow's "Blackwork" which is published by Dover and hence is
cheaply and readily available.
Many of the cushions and covers I've seen done in blackwork have both
representational designs (birds, foliage, flowers, etc) outlined in chain
stitch or similar, and a range of filling stitches used for shading or
just variety. One example I've seen has a grid pattern of diamonds, and
in each diamond is a different type of bird, including things like
cranes and turkeys. Another has a border with a scrolling foliage
pattern, and the centre is filled with leaves that look like ivy or
something, and each leaf is filled with a different blackwork filling
So in one way they are "samplers" because they demonstrate a range of
simple stitches. And in a way they are "pictures" because they have
designs that are immediately recognisable as actual things, not just
Hope that helps.
Lady Katherine Rowberd (mka Kirrily "Skud" Robert)
Caldrithig, Skraeling Althing, Ealdormere
"The rose is red, the leaves are grene, God save Elizabeth our Queene"