In this small but very charming early Victorian sampler, our stitcher, Jane, has incorporated a number of motifs together in such a way that invites the viewer into her world. In this world are lions, butterflies, flowering jardinières, flowers, crowns and a large pretty basket of fruit picked out in raspberry, green and cream-colored silks.
The sampler is worked in fine silk floss in colors that harmonize well with each other. Our stitcher’s teeny stitches show her talent and expertise with the needle in every stitch. She even has an unusual sun above the basket of fruit in the top of the sampler.
For a border, she chose a tiny, undulating line with small strawberries and leaves emanating from each dip. She divided her sampler into two parts, with each demanding one’s attention. In the upper half, she placed her moralistic statement: “EACH MOMENT BRINGS us nearer to our end.” In itself, this is an unusual motto, let alone that it was made by a young schoolgirl.
In the sampler’s lower half is a large tree used as her name cartouche. In the center of this is her name, Jane Fennah. On either side are tall flowering jardinières flanked by a pair of lions.
The sampler is housed in its original Victorian wood and gesso frame with a wide gilded slip. The slip has turned to a pretty shade of soft gold.
The piece, which dates to around 1840, is in excellent original condition as a whole. There has been a slight amount of insect damage. There is a slight amount of rust from the original small brads that held the sampler to its stretcher. Over the years the sampler has rumpled beneath the glass, most likely due to shrinkage of the wood that the linen ground was attached to. The color retention is excellent, as the silk threads have held their colors well. There is some age toning to the linen ground, but this has only contributed to its attractive appearance.
This is an early Victorian schoolgirl’s work and is a fine example of its type.
It measures 8-7/8 inches wide and 10-3/4 inches high, including the frame.