Here we have an unusually attractive and skillfully done sampler that was completed 176 years ago, a time that had both good and bad moments. 1845 saw the beginning of the terrible potato famine, the addition of Texas as one of the United States after many years of war, the publication of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” and the expulsion of Andrew Jackson’s “wicked” pet parrot from his funeral for non-stop swearing at his mourners. No wonder this sampler’s stitcher sought to create a work of beauty and quiet reflection.
This sampler was carefully designed so as to have two groups of motifs divided by the religious reflection to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Our stitcher, J. Salter, used the border more as a principle design element than just a device to enclose the sampler. As such, it has large, black-outlined flowers emanating from an undulating vine, complete with small sprigs of leaves and buds.
The large mandolin, flanked on either side with figures, gives the sampler a continental feel. (Indeed, this then-popular musical instrument has Italian roots.) However, the bottom half of the sampler, with the large bird resting in a small tree, returns the sampler to traditional Victorian English style. On either side of this bird are two large rabbits standing on the haunches in small patches of green meadow. The child’s name and date of 1845 sits below this very charming and pretty group of motifs.
The silkwork was done on fine linen. The main colors of golds, greens, cream and black silk floss harmonize well with one another. This color combination, often found in Victorian samplers, makes for a subtly stunning presence.
It is housed in its original, beautiful bird’s eye maple frame with a wide gilded slip.
The linen is age toned overall, which gives it a nice golden color. This color, in turn, adds to the antique ambience of the piece. There is some amount of fading, although most of the colors are still vibrant and show good color retention. The silk floss is luminous.
The condition of the frame is excellent, considering its age. There is a small loss of veneer in both bottom corners. There also is some wear to the gilded slip and some embedded dirt.
It measures 17-1/2 inches wide by 22-3/4 inches high, including the frame.
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