August 09, 2022

The Sampler Of Bernarda Bellon 1838

By Birgit Tolman
The Sampler Of Bernarda Bellon 1838

A Spanish Sampler, or is it?

I love the colors of this lovely Spanish Sampler. They evoke that Mediterranean vibe, fresh and happy.

Bernarda Dedicated this sampler to Dona Isabel Camacho in 1838.

Bernarda Bellon Sampler

The text reads as follows:

Lo Izo (a derivation (or a simple spelling mistake) of “lo hizo” meaning "Made by")

Bernarda Bellon Dedicado A. (Bernarda Bellon dedicated to)

Dona Isabel Camacho - then the letters all are clumped together and it took a bit to tease the meaning apart: ENEL ANO DE 1838 from Spanish: IN THE YEAR 1838 however the word ENE alone translated means Jan the abbreviation for January (Enero) so either could be the case.

Another thing I find interesting is the first thing she stitched is the Portuguese Cross, the symbol of the order of Christ (going back to the Knights Templar) this has no connection to Spain. Her Alphabet shows practicing the "L" three times (or maybe a different message?...) She also stitched a proper "N" and the eñe "Ñ" using it in the word DOÑA and AÑO. (charted as a backstitch) In the alphabet section, she stitches it with a cross stitch.

I find the vowel row quite interesting, starting with the yellow/beige hook or "r". At first, I thought it was a fabric repair, but it is all cross stitch. The "I" lost some of its stitches.

The hardest thing to chart with this sampler was how the outer border relates to the inside. The outside border mostly was stitched over 3 threads which totally threw off the count of everything. I started counting 66 stitches wide and couldn't figure out why the first alphabet row just would not fit into the area...I had to don the super magnifiers and do some "sleuthing" which revealed the extra threads (not consistently). The fabric is also most unusual, an extremely tight weave that has a slightly stretchy feel. The whole piece has a nice hemstitch border around it.

The original size of 4.75" x 7.75" makes it a miniature sampler - even sweeter. You can find this little gem here: https://thewishingthorn.com/collections/reproduction-samplers/products/bernarda-bellon-1838-sampler-pattern-pdf

* An interesting observation form Trudy seeing the sampler on Instagram: I think the three l’s are actually two letters: l and the “ll” the Spanish double l. Interestingly she did not stitch the Spanish letters “ch” and “rr”

Also the merchant in the antique shop in Spain that sold the sampler commented on the "Y" in the vowel section being a Greek "Y" compared to the one in the alphabet section.