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One of the most elusive of all 19th century needlework pieces are Watch Samplers, small, round stitched items, usually made by a wife or daughter to be kept inside the case of a gentleman’s pocket watch. They are usually between 1 ¾” and 2 ¼” in diameter and sometimes have decorations, sometimes initials and on rare occasions, a full name or motto. As you can well imagine, very few have survived.
This example is cross stitch needlework with the initials “J. W.” and the Biblical Verse: “Jesus Wept.” (John 11:35, the shortest verse in the King James version of the Bible). It measures 2” in diameter and is mounted on linen and framed in an appropriate wood frame (overall frame size is 7 ¾” square. Although the sampler is a bit soiled and there is a small stain after the “t” in “wept” it is not torn or ripped and there are no missing stitches. The soiling is to be expected from something that was probably handled multiple times a day.
The frame has an interesting hand-written notation on the back indicating that the watch sampler was originally purchased from an Australian Watch Dealer. Amazing how things can travel: purchased in Australia, framed in Scranton, PA, and being purchased by me from a dealer in Michigan and being sold out of Massachusetts!
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