Thursday 20 August 2009

Another Sampler Mystery

I hope you have your detective deerstalkers on today because there is another mystery we hope you can solve. Here you can see excerpts from Italian samplers. You are looking at the end of an alphabet - Z which is followed by an ampersand and three more characters - but what are they and why are they there, does anyone have an idea, can anyone take a guess? The only small guess I can make is that the character which looks like R resembles the R you sometimes used to see on prescriptions. Over to you, sampler-sleuths.


  1. it does look like an rx and the other is perhaps a cent sign? Still can't determine the last one.

  2. The lower rx really does look like the latin abbreviation for recipe. In that vain could the c be short for with?


  3. The letters on the two samplers don't look completely the same to me, but if I go with the second sampler which is clearer...

    The second character looks like a "cent" (currency) mark to me..but a c never the less (I don't know if they had cents at the time this sampler was stitched)
    The next one, a crossed R or decorated R anyhow, and the last.. it looks like an A, or A with E attached?

    Can I make a very wild guess "et cent r a (et cetera)"?.

    Although in Wikipedia the writing for "et cetera" in Latin is "&c."

  4. Our alphabet in Norway is at the end Z Æ Ø Å ,can this help abit?

  5. The first symbol in both samples looks to me like Esperluette or Ampersand. The shape of this sign is derived from the ligature "et", the latin word for "and" (e.g. et cetera).

    I am not sure about the rest, but they resemble similar symbols, possibly currency, etc.

  6. The Alphabet you are talking about is probably from an earlier dialect. Roman was used and so was Latin. So the Suffixes at the end were probably from Roman Alphabet. It would be interesting to know the date on this Sampler to find the exact dialect that was being used at that time. English came in about I believe it was the 17th Century. This is fun, reliving my school days with degree in Anthropology and the Study of Languages.