From time to time the question about whether to sign a reproduction sampler with your details and the year that you finished it is raised in various discussion groups. This question was raised on one of my yahoogroups recently, and although I responded with a one line statement, I have previously given a more detailed response.
My statement was that I always stitch at least my initials and the year that I finished the sampler at the bottom of the sampler under the bottom border.
But why do I do this? The sampler to the left is the reason why. Just before the Euro was introduced, I bought this sampler in Den Haag, believing that it had been stitched around about 1900. The salesman claimed that it had been stitched around the turn of the century. This particular sampler was dated 1821. For it to be in such good condition, I knew that this could not be the case, but around the turn of the century, yeah, that was possible. I did not recognise the linen colour, and as it was framed (I hate the frame BTW), I could not see any other details.
After purchasing the sampler, I spoke about it in one of my email groups, and someone there put me onto Kunst & Vliegwerk. Lonneke had previously done some research into this particular sampler, and it was through her that I discovered that versions of this sampler had been available for many years for those interested in reproducing samplers. I cannot recall what it was exactly (we are talking over 10 years ago!), but there was one aspect to this sampler that had Lonneke dating it to post 1950. You can imagine my disgust! As a result, this sampler was taken from where it was on the wall, and is currently in my sewing room, about to be placed over the spare bed!
Due to the framing of this sampler, it would be impossible to see a signature at the bottom, but it would give people who were going to sell these items time to pause before making a fraudulent statement. (I am not claiming that the salesman committed fraud. I am will to accept that he made a mistake and his assumption was fraudulent.) Placing a note in the back of the frame is not always a good move, as we do sometimes reframe items when we are not happy with the frame, and as the sampler moved from place to place, it is possible that the piece of paper with the stitcher’s details may get lost.
Would I buy another antique sampler? If I had the money, and the sampler was a good one, then most definitely yes! In fact I own a number of red school girl samplers from the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, and I absolutely love them, but the Amsterdam sampler… ah well, we live and learn!
So, to sign or not to sign. Most definitely yes, but I would not change the initial wording, signature or date, I would just include my details at the very bottom.