This beautiful sampler has an air of mystery about it. Created by Elisabeth Holme in 1834, when she was 11 years old, it complements another sampler I am offering separately by Elizabeth Harrison, who completed her work in 1822. The girls may have been close family members; perhaps cousins.
The borders of both samplers are most unusual and were done similarly. It appears that our Ms. Holme was inspired by her predecessor, Elizabeth Harrison, which only proves that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Ms. Holme did not copy the earlier piece, but she went out of her way to create one with a similar feel. Her flowers undulate around the central spiritual verse and add to the relationship between the two samplers.
At the age of 11, she had already acquired expert needlework skills and put them to good use in this piece. She also used similar colors (pinks, greens, golds and black) to create her work. It’s almost as if the extra silk floss from Elizabeth Harrison’s sampler from 1822 had been stored and then found years later by Elisabeth Holme to use in this later work. The size and scale of the lettering, as well as their spacing and placement, echo each sampler. Although 5 years younger than Ms. Harrison when she accomplished this work, her embroidery shows the skills associated with a much older child.
This sampler is in excellent condition, especially considering its age of 184 years. Although the silk floss on both has faded somewhat, it still retains its luminosity. I quite like the soft pastel colors. There is an inherent beauty to the combinations and richness of these old color schemes.
It has been professionally conserved and framed in the United Kingdom according to an older 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 of embroidered sampler.
I can’t imagine anywhere that this pretty piece of antique needlework would not make a decorative and stylish statement.
It measures 17-3/4 inches wide and 14-1/2 inches high, including the frame.
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