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Sampler
3 November 1808
Embroiderer:Embroidered by Ruth Wheelock Patten , American, born 1797
Hand-embroidered silk on a wool and linen (linsey-woolsey) fabric
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 13 1/8 x 10 1/2in. (33.3 x 26.7cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Theda Lundquist
Gallery Copy: Ruth Patten’s verse explicitly links needlework to female piety. The still life, with strawberries, grapes, and possibly carrots arrayed on a grassy knoll at the bottom is worked using silk embroidery techniques with a strip of cotton applied to the back of the loosely-woven canvas. Clearly marked “Hartford . . . 1808,” this piece is the first indication of sampler making at Hartford’s Patten family school. The Patten school enrolled about three thousand students over its forty years in operation. The maker was the granddaughter and namesake of the school’s matriarch, Ruth Wheelock Patten. Young Ruth was sent from Newport, Rhode Island, to live with her grandmother and to be instructed by her three Patten aunts, and perhaps her uncle who ran a Literary school.
Description: Sampler worked in yellow, pink, light green, medium green, peach, dark blue, dark green, cream, gray, medium blue, light blue, and dark brown silk threads on a green plain-woven linsey-woolsey ground in cross and other stitches. The sampler is rectangular, oriented vertically. It is laid out with seven rows of four alphabets and the numbers 1 through 10, over two inscriptions, over a landscape design at the bottom. The first inscription is "JESUS permit Thy Gracious Name to stand/ As the first efforts of an Infants hand/ And while her fingers o'er this canvas move/ Engage her tender heart to seek THY Love/ With Thy dear Children let her share a part/ And write thy Name Thyself upon her heart". The second inscription is "Ruth W Patten Hartford November 3 1808". The landscape design is realistic looking, incorporating plants as well as fruits (strawberries and grapes). The lines of alphabets and numbers are separated by various narrow borders, including straight and meandering lines. The sampler has a four-sided wavy border. The sampler probably had a double-turned hem on all four edges. The edges of the sampler appear to have been cut. There is a piece of fabric behind the landscape design. The fabric was stitched through, probably for stabilization. The sampler is not presently framed, but is accompanied by an old frame. Letters and Numbers: There are four alphabets and the numbers 1-10. The letters are uppercase block in alphabet 1, lowercase block in alphabet 2, lowercase script [possibly - check] in alphabet 3, and uppercase script in alphabet 4. The letter J is present in the first and the fourth alphabets; the letter U is present in all alphabets. The letter "v" is missing from the third alphabet. The maker uses long 's'. All lowercase letters with descenders, such as the letter 'g', are placed so the descender does not extend below the baseline. Stitches: The principal stitch on the sampler is cross stitch (over one and over two threads); it is also worked in satin, long and short, Algerian eye, French knot and seed stitches. Thread count: 28 warp x 28 weft per inch. Condition: The sampler is fragile. It has several large worn areas. The edges appear to have been cut, probably as it was separated from the surface to which it was once glued. The sampler has glue residue on its edges on the back. The sampler is not framed, but is accompanied by an old frame.
Object Number: 2001.29.0
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