It always amazes me that young children in the 18th and 19th centuries were such accomplished needleworkers. In this sampler, not only was our stitcher skilled technically, but also her choice of motifs, overall composition and symmetry all work together to create a wonderful sampler, especially when we realize it was done by an 8-year-old child.
Elizabeth used traditional upper and lower cases for her alphabet, which she placed in the top quarter of the sampler. Below this is a long, didactic verse beginning, “Industry taught in early days…” Her teeny stitches of cross stitch and tent stitch make the reading of the verse that much more enjoyable.
She selected a pair of flowering jardinières to flank each side of the verse. However, it her last third of the sampler that merits most praise and shows off her talent. She placed a small cottage done in a solidly worked pettipoint counted cross stich on the right, countering it with a church and a long-leafed tree on the left done in the same stitch. In between is a beautiful wreath or roses, also in counted cross stitch, around the Latin motto, “Tempus Fugit,” or “time passes.” It’s hard to imagine that such a young child would use a Latin motto that we usually associate with the knowledge that comes with age.
Her name is below this vignette, with the phrase, “Elizabeth Bollington Finished this Sampler December MDCCCXLIV (1844),” along with the words, “Aged 8 Years.”
Elizabeth enclosed her beautiful needlework with a scrolling border with strawberries projecting from each undulating point.
It is framed in its original wood and gesso gilded frame. It has a simple, rounded form that compliments the needlework well. It retains its original hand-blown, bubbled glass.
Overall, the sampler is in very good condition, especially considering its age of 175 years. There are small areas of losses in the lower left near her name. There is some minor staining in a few places. The colors are muted, but the silk still retains its vibrancy and sheen. The condition of the frame has some general deterioration of the gilding; however, this only adds to the remarkable character of this early Victorian sampler.
It measures 14-3/4 inches wide by 16-1/4 inches high, including the frame.
Silkwork Sampler Worked by an 8-Year-Old, Dated 1844
$695 $1,195 SALE