Two more friends in the Gold Medal class are Hennie and Sjoerd Stevan for all the devotion they have given to the study of samplers and needlework in their area of North Netherlands in and around Friesland and Groningen.
Their study of the prodigious Black Samplers of their area is a work of total dedication, which resulted in this monumental book of research nearly 10 years ago.
During the early 1800s this was a very rich wheat-growing region of the Netherlands - the Goldcoast. Here in the big farms women stitched their samplers in black silk, very much as the women in the region of not too distant Hamburg in Germany stitched the black Vierlanden samplers.
Apart from the black silk, what marks these samplers out are the Crowned Gs which you can see in the sampler above middle right.
There are numerous theories of why black was so popular. It may have been the cheapest or most readily available thread, though it is certainly not faulty over-dyed thread as the samplers show no sign of acid loss.
Some people thought it was because the samplers would stand out more in dim surroundings if they were high contrast. Martin Ex had the theory that perhaps the women simply liked black.
There are coloured samplers also and many items of school girl work also documented with the many black samplers.
And there are patterns for some of the samplers too, so you can make your very own Black Sampler. The book is hefty - nearly 200 pages and in totally pristine condition. The text is in Dutch - but there are English and German summaries included at the end of the book. The book has a pristine dust-jacket too which I haven't shown simply because I prefer to look at the book cover itself..