This is an unusual type of sampler; part portrait and part topographical scene. The setting of this Victorian piece is a busy port town, complete with a castle, and with a bevy of sail and row boats in the inlet. Off in the distance are steamboats emitting red steam, sailboats flying red flags and row boats.
In the center of the scene stands a young sailor, holding an anchor and quite happy to have returned home. There is a small brown and white spotted spaniel running toward him. In the foreground are gateposts and a rose-covered fence. There are flowers in the shrub to the right of the gatepost, as well as a large tree to the left.
Our stitcher has executed this complicated composition in fine wool yarn embellished with silk thread. Her stitches are in even rows and she used colors that harmonize well with one another. This piece is chock full of smaller vignettes that allow the viewer to imagine where the larger scene takes place.
At the bottom of this piece our stitcher used clear glass beads to create her nameplate, which reads: “Elizabeth Caroline Winter’s Work, Age 19, in 1889.”
It is housed in its original frame, faux-painted to resemble walnut.
The needlework is in excellent condition, with only some minor losses of yarn toward the bottom edge. There is no staining or insect damage. The color retention is very good overall; however, the whole piece has faded somewhat. It appears that the woolwork was re-stretched and protected by a board in more recent times.
The frame has some surface scratching and some pieces of minor veneer loss. There is a small amount of crazing along the inside edge of this wide, molded frame. This type of wear would be expected in a Victorian piece of 120 years of age.
It measures 32-1/2 inches wide by 28-3/8 inches high.