An American silk on linen Needlework Sampler by M Downing, Trenton (NJ) and dated January 30, 1814. This sampler is most likely Quaker in origin, with the wreath around the central medallion, and the Squirrel in the upper right, resembling very strongly the samplers from the Ackworth School in the UK. The sampler measures 8 ¾” x 10 ¼” (sight) and is framed in a contemporary and very appropriate burl-wood frame (frame size is 11 ½” x 13”). Stitched in shades of green and beige, there are a couple of red highlights in the rose buds. The maker put her initials (“M D”) at the top-center.
While in fine condition, the sampler has some relatively minor condition issues, so please read this description carefully. There are some thin spots/pulling of the linen backing on the edges, mostly in the corners, and some of the stitches in the “D” at the top are missing. More importantly, there are some holes in the linen across the middle of the sampler from the left margin to just under “Downing”. These effect primarily the linen, but there are some missing stitches in the flowering plant left-center. Because the sampler is mounted on a very similarly colored piece of linen, these holes are noticeable only from up-close. The colors are mellow and the green, especially, has held. The piece is mounted on acid-free mounting board (according to a hand-written note on the back).
M. Downing’s sampler is pictured in the book by Dan and Marty Campanelli, A Sampling of Hunterdon County (New Jersey) Needlework: the motifs, the makers & their stories. The Campanelli’s conclude: “This is a typical example of a Delaware Valley Quaker sampler, and if Trenton had not been named, it could easily have been attributed to Pennsylvania.” A copy of the Campanelli book will come with the sampler, should the buyer be interested in having it.