Bois le Duc


 Price: £17.00
Area in stitches: 338 x 397
This design is made up of many traditional sampler motifs from Holland and the Low Countries and the band of patterns to the right of the design is also a typical feature of samplers from this region of Europe.
The Dutch Maiden (or Free Maiden) usually holds a sceptre in one hand and the Cap of Liberty circled by a ribbon in national colours in the other.  Generally she is accompanied by a cat, a creature that never gives up its independence.  The Dutch Lion and the Spinning Hat symbolises strength and steadfastness.  They are set in the Garden of Holland (symbol of the Royal House of Orange) which is circular and enclosed by a fence.  This motif dates from 1405-6 and is connected with the siege of Hagstein which was protected by a hedge of woven branches.
A relatively recent group of symbols are the Cross (Geloof - faith/belief), Anchor (Hoop - hope) and Heart (Liefde - love/charity) which became popular in the first half of the 20th century.  They were often embroidered on headdress ribbons, particularly for weddings, as were many of the patterns on the right hand side of this design.
The Spinning Monkey is always seated and was lined with the Three Fates who foretell the lot of man and spin out the threads of their lives.  The gabled house was often the home of the embroideress and the chairs represented diligence and hospitality. 
This design was named after the birthplace of my grandfather Theodore Johanne Hubert Hendriks.  Bois le Duc, the provincial capital of North Brabant in Holland is known today as 'sHertogenbosch and was a fortress city until 1876.  It was also the birthplace of the painter Hieronymus Bosch which explains a lot!

St Flovier


Price: £16.20
Area in stitches: 318 x 248
This design is very much in the Dutch style and features many twists and turns of corner motifs.  It is named after St Flo my nearest outpost of civilisation - and then only just.

Pot 4 Dickie

Price: £17.10
Area in stitches: 188 x 647

Don't be afraid, it's not as daunting as it first looks.  There has been considerable speculation on various forums and by direct contact concerning the name of this sampler.  All I will reveal is that it is "an anglicized phonetic representation"!

Spirit of Marken

Price: £17.10
Area in stitches: 277 x 362

Marken is a peninsula in the IJsselmeer and a former island in the Zuiderzee, located in the municipality Waterland in the province of North Holland.  It is known not only for its characteristic old wooden buildings but also for it's distinctive style of needlework.

Spirit of Vierlande


Price: £17.10
Area in stitches: 277 x 357
Vierlande is situated to the south east of the City of Hamburg.  The samplers from this region are almost always stitched in black on white or pale coloured linen using horizontal rows of geometric motifs.

Words Alone

Price: £8.10
Area in stitches: 320 x 169
Words Alone is typical of a 17th century Dutch sampler.  During this period it was common for samplers to include a band of patterns at one side.  The phrase "praatjes vullen geen gaatjes" translates as "words alone come to nothing".
All the symbols have specific meanings: windmill with figures - peace, equilibrium and a happy marriage, church - belief in the existence of God, anchor - fidelity and hope, cat - liberty, peacock - life eternal, key - prosperity.

Flemish Giant

Price: £16.20
Area in stitches: 394 x 199
Named after a breed of rabbit from the region.  He's the little blue dude somewhere in the middle - can you spot him?  This really needs to be sewn to be believed as that's the only way you're going to get the full impact of the colours.  (Another little sales ploy).


Price: £8.10
Area in stitches: 147 x 193
It does what it says on the box really.  The big central tree of life is typically Friesian in style.  

Do Bears?

Price: £12.60
Area in stitches: 297 x 274
Throughout the 17th century Dutch samplers, particularly those from the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and North Holland often featured their own very distinctive form of the Tree of Life.
The trunk was symbolic of force (the father) and the foliage of abundance (the mother) whilst the whole tree, with it's cyclic nature, stood for renewal and immortality.  Opposing pairs of birds were almost always perched round the branches as a reminder of the life eternal.  And, - yes, they do!



  1. Pot4Dicky is the Dutch (very mild) expletive: Potverdikkie! I just love these samplers, especially the one on the reddish/brown linen.
    Sophie Smeenk

  2. The Flemish Giant is gorgeous! Is it supposed to be missing several "J"s?