In the Biedermeier period (1815-1848) the economically strong middle classes of Germany retired into private and contemplative life with the leisure for the useful pastime. By this means the circle of the domestic stitchers became considerably wider with a large need at pattern books and coloured single sheets.
The sampler got another purpose; it was no longer a pattern source, but an exercise and visual aid.
Nationwide girls and women were working similar pieces with a poetic charisma. The appropriate patterns found its expression in albums for poems from friends and relatives, in pictures of friendship, on covers, cushions, bags and porcelain as well.
This small sampler was presented among others in the context of the touring exhibition "Samplers from Altmark and Prignitz" - from 1995 to 1997, in Osterburg, Magdeburg, Perleberg, Stendal, Havelberg. The "pug sampler" from 1807 is in the possession of the Altmärkische Museum Stendal. Many thanks to the staff members of this Museum for sending me photos and for their kind support.
It is considered one of the so-called "samplers of the transition period". These samplers still contain some traditional motifs full of symbolic meanings like the lobster, the watering place for birds, pairs of birds, the lions, and furniture; however already show the typical structure of samplers of the Biedermeier period. The different floral borders and alphabets got more weight. The needleworker attached great importance to a realistic representation of the motifs - here the shading of the palm vase, of the sides of the urn and of the folds on the pug's skin - and she showed her skills in the quality of the piece. She has added nearly all 25 colours into the three alphabets and two rows of numbers.
For the maker the large urn is in the centre of attention with the ambiguity of the everlasting loyalty beyond the grave and/or the mourning over the loss.
The "pug sampler" is worked - like many samplers of that time- with silk on linen, edged and lined with fine linen.
Crosses: 219 x 225
Size: 31 x 32 cm
Stitches: Cross stitch, back stitch