Charming schoolgirl needlework sampler made in 1843 by Eliza Clackett (1831-1918) when she was 12 years old. Eliza was born in Canterbury, Kent, England, the daughter of Henry Clackett and Eliza Pillow. Her family is listed in the England and Wales Non-Conformist Records Indexes. Henry Clackett died in 1836 when Eliza was five years old. The following year, 1837, her mother emigrated to New York on the ship Westminster together with Eliza and her siblings: Henry, Frances and Cephas. Eliza's sampler is of square shape and meticulously embroidered in shades of red, green, yellow and brown silk on linen. It has two rows of embroidered letters and numbers separated by decorative lines; a pious verse entitled "Virtue" in red; two large flower baskets characteristic of Quaker samplers; and a center parrot bird standing on a tree branch; all surrounded by a strawberry border. The parrot is associated with talkativeness, perhaps a reminder, in the context of Virtue, to avoid breaking confidences, and criticizing others. Inscriptions on the sampler read as follow:
Virtue's the chiefest beauty of the mind, The noblest ornament of human kind, Virtue's our safeguard and our guiding star, That stirs up reason when our senses err.
Eliza Clackett her work November 1843
Eliza married John Ashdown (1814-1904), an English-born farmer, who immigrated to the U.S. the same year she did (1837). According to Census records they had at least four sons including Edward, Henry, Alfred and Frank. Eliza died in 1918, she was 87. She is buried at Greenfield Cemetery, in Nassau County, New York. Sampler is in very good condition, hand-sewn to paper mount, with overall toning and water stains to borders as shown; it appears to be in its original wood frame which has small losses, scratches and scuffs. Shipped professionally packed and fully insured with tracking number.
Measurements: Frame: 16" square; Visible Image: 12 1/2" square.