Working on reproduction of this antique sampler was a delight!
Late 19th century antique sampler by May Nicholls aged 10 is worked in wool and cotton on even weave gauze. This sampler is completely charming with neat stitch work throughout.
The gauze has overall discoloration consistent with its age. There is also some stitch loss to the outer red chevron border and the odd stitch elsewhere.
I chose to stitch a reproduction of May Nicholls's sampler, that was finished in September 1894, and comes from my personal collection, on 40 linen using 1 strand of new over dyed colors from DMC one over one. That is why my sampler looks much smaller than the original. The size of May's sampler is 11" x 13", and the reproduction is 2 1/2" x 3". I used the same stitches as May did: a tent continental and cross stitch mixed.
The upper section of the sampler is stitched with rows of alphabet letters, numbers and border patterns, all underlined with a Greek key style border.
The lower section of the sampler is stitched with the words "The Lord is my Shepherd", underlined with a zigzag border which has row of trees and cups and saucers below. There is a central fruit basket below which has a tree and a cross to each side, the date September 1894 above and May's name and age below. The whole piece is then surrounded by a narrow red chevron border.
I added my initials NF and a year the sampler was finished 2020 on each side of the fruit basket.
The pattern of a reproduction of an Antique Sampler by May Nicholls, 1894 is available HERE.