As far as borders go, this sampler has one of the most unusual I’ve come across. It undulates around a spiritual verse, displaying a beautiful array of flowers and berries while flanked on both sides with a large multi-colored silkwork peacock. The border’s colors harmonize wonderfully. There are rose pinks, turquoise blues, blue-greens, golds and grey-blues that are magically stitched together to form an enchanting floral and bird border.
The entire sampler is stitched on a very fine linen ground that has mellowed with age, creating a golden color for the background of the exquisite silkwork stitching.
Elizabeth Harrison was 16 years old when she completed this charming piece of needlework in 1822. Her letters are even and neatly done, showing her good command and skills in this area. The leaves, flowers, rosebuds and birds further illustrate our young needleworker’s talent. She placed her town’s name, Orton (in Cumbria near the Lake District), at the very top of the piece. It complements another sampler I am offering separately by Elisabeth Holme in 1834. The borders of both samplers are most unusual and were done similarly. The girls may have been close family members; perhaps cousins.
The sampler is in superb condition, especially considering its age of nearly 200 years. Although the silk floss has faded somewhat, it still retains its luminosity. I quite like the soft pastel colors in this sampler. There is an inherent beauty to the pastel color combinations and the richness of the old color scheme.
It has been professionally conserved and framed in the United Kingdom according to an older style label on the back. I believe the linen has been backed with silk or linen fabric to give it body and to conserve it. The walnut veneer frame was an excellent choice for this period piece of embroidery.
I can’t imaging where this pretty piece of early needlework would not make a stylish statement.
It measures 16-3/4 inches wide and 14-3/8 inches high, including the frame.
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