The earliest Broek in Waterland sampler

Look at this: one of the oldest dated Dutch samplers around! The sampler was finished by Maertghin Cornelis in 1638. Only a handfull of Dutch samplers are dated earlier than this one. The sampler is part of one of the more important groups of Dutch samplers: the Broek-samplers or Broekdoeken.

The sampler has not (yet) a tower or church, neither a pious verse, but otherwise it has the distinctive crosses, bands and other patterns. The large cross with peacocks in each end must have been a personal touch of the girl.

As often happened, the cloth was cut to the left and bottom to make it fit to a (rather ugly) frame. Quite remarkable, the three vertical bands below the alphabet were glued to the cloth. The likely came from another sampler!

Maertghin Cornelis 1638, Broek in Waterland (collection Ex Antiques)

Maertghin (or Maritgen) broek in Waterland 1638

Furthermore, just a few lines of an earlier the article that was published in 2011 about the Broek-samplers. Also, please check the Neelje Kat sampler that was added at the beginning of this year. Found in one year, the oldest and youngest sampler, how nice!

The Marken-myth

There has always been a 'pressing' matter in Dutch Samplerland namely the unclear origin of this type of samplers.. Mostly, they were assigned to Marken, a former island. Now it seems that the enigma has been unraveled.

All the girls worked their sampler in a bit 'un-Dutch' manner : they stated a full name, date en age. Being optimistic with this wealth of information and being cynical about the origin (Isle of Marken) of the samplers it was time to dive into the archives. It turned out that not Marken neither Edam nor Monnickendam, but the small village of Broek in Waterland was the source of these wonderful samplers!

These are the facts: There are seventeen samplers known so far. A few others, maybe five might be from the same source. About half is kept in museums, the other half in private collections. The oldest sampler is dated 1638; the youngest 1693. Eight were made in 1670's.The youngest girls were nine years old, the oldest eleven. All of them were born in Broek in Waterland, sometimes married and/or died in Broek. Distinctive patterns on all samplers are the tower/church, , the bands, pious text in Gothic lettering and many others. All samplers were made with the finest silks on linen mostly in cross-, long-armed cross-, stem-and chain stitch. Average sizes 40 x 45 cm.

Here are the girls:

1) Maertghin Cornelis 1638 (see pictures)

2) Trijntje Jans 1640

3) Immetje Cornelisdochter 1652

4) Geertjen Cornelisdochter 1656

5) Annetje Muusdochter 1663 (see picture)

6) Aeltgen Maertesdochter, circa 1670 (see picture)

7) Neeltje Jacobsdochter 1670

8) Reimerich Dircksdochter 1673 (see picture)

9) Aeltje Claasdochter 1673

10) Claes Verlaansdochter 1674

11) Claesie Jansdochter 1674

12) Eechje Jacobsdochter 1678

13) Neeltje Mues Mars 1679

14) Lobbetje Nanninghsdochter 1688

15) Aeltje Cornelis Corvers 1688

16) Grietje Albersdochter 1689

17) Neeltje Frans Kat(s) 1693

Annetie Muusdochter 1663, aged 11. Broek in Waterland

(Collection Open Air Museum Arnhem)

As you see, the samplers look a like, yet are all quite different. For example, although Annetje was reformed, she choose to stitch a large Maria in letters and the same with the Agnus Dei pattern in the middle. On other samplers the Maria symbol is less obvious or even absent, however the Agnus Dei is on all of them.

Reimerich 1673

Reimerich Dircksdochter 1673, aged 11. (Broek in Waterland.(private collection)

Ten years later than Annetje's sampler, Reimerich choose somewhat larger patterns like the rosettes, the mystic wine-press and the cross. This sampler proves that the tower, often seen as the bell-tower of Monnickendam or Edam, can stand by itself in the 1670's, not only on the earlier examples. On both samplers the bands are practically the same and the dogs are still fighting.

For now...Happy 2018!

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