A nice, clean and relatively simple, straightforward Needlework Sampler by Marth(a) Monks, 1828. Most likely English in origin, the sampler includes the name Marth Monks, Aged 9, 1828. (Most likely, the child’s name was Martha; she may have gone by the nickname “Marth” and stitched only that part of her name, or she decided after the sampler was completed to take the “a” out. The spacing suggests that it may have been there originally, there is no visual trace, etc.) There is a relatively long verse title “The Rose:” How fair is the rose, what a beautiful flower In summer so fragrant and gay. But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast Above all the flowers of the field.
When its leaves are all dead and fine colours lost Still how sweet a perfume it will yield
So frail is the youth and the beauty of men, Though they bloom and look gay like the rose. For all our fond care to preserve them is vain, Time kills them as fast as he goes. The verse is from a popular 19th century hymn by Isaac Watts. It was originally written in the early years of the 18th century.
In addition to the text, Marth’s sampler includes a house, some rather oversized plants, and several small little animals, probably dogs at the very bottom. It has a nice border of roses and leaves. The sampler measures 16 1/2" x 17" (sight) and has archival framing (18" x 18 1/2" frame size) in an appropriate modern wooden frame. Overall condition is very fine: there are not rips, tears, holes in the linen backing and no staining to note. Stitching is virtually complete, other than the “a” in her name. Some fading of the border, but the greens and golds in the decoration at the bottom have held nicely. A nice example of a young child’s stitchwork.
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