Dresden, Germany, 1834. Embroidered on cotton. Collection of Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Bequest of Gertrude M. Oppenheimer, 1981-28-277.
Practicing embroidering letters originated when household linens needed to be marked with the family initials and/ or crest before being sent off to the bleaching fields. These exercises later evolved into highly decorative samplers like this one.
Senior Curator of Contemporary Design
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum