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Sampler
1824
Embroiderer:Embroidered by Abigail Ursula Wooster , American, 1813 - 1894
Teacher:Taught by Mary Mallory
Embroidery; silk thread on a plain-woven, undyed linen ground
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 12 1/2 x 12 3/4in. (31.8 x 32.4cm)
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Gallery Copy: Abigail’s teacher, Mary Mallory, has not yet been traced, nor are additional works known to be credited to her instruction. The overall composition suggests less a personal style than the emergence of a generalized sampler vocabulary: the Georgian house, four lines from Alexander Pope’s popular “Universal Prayer,” abstract designs (said to have been used for marking or decorating linens), alphabets, and numbers. Abigail’s father was a prosperous manufacturer and the family were members of the Baptist faith, a dissenting religious minority known for its often vocal opposition to Connecticut’s established Congregational Church.
Description: Sampler worked in dark brown, medium brown, tan, brown-gray, yellow, and light blue silk threads on a plain-woven linen ground using cross and tent stitches. The sampler is squarish, oriented horizontally. It is laid out with five rows of three alphabets and the numbers 1 through 12, over an inscription, over two inscriptions positioned side by side, over a horizontal band of pictorial motifs at the bottom. The first inscription is: "Abigail U Woosters Sampler which she/ mark'd in the 11th year of her age under/ the instruction of Mary Mallory. June th18/ AD [one character] 1824". The second and third inscriptions read, from left to right: "Teach me to feel an others wo/ To hide the fault I see/ That mercy I to others show/ That mercy show to me" and "AU/ W". The horizontal band of pictorial motifs include, from left to right, four different marking designs, and a two-story house with center door. There are several scattered designs, such as hearts and diamond shapes. The sampler has a four-sided diamond border. The sampler has a 1/8 inch double-turned hem on all four edges. The sampler is not framed. Letters and Numbers: There are three alphabets. The letters are uppercase script in alphabet 1, uppercase block in alphabet 2, and lowercase block in alphabet 3. The letter J is present in the second and third alphabets only; the letter U is present in all alphabets. The letters A and M are repeated in the second alphabet. Stitches: The principal stitch on the sampler is cross stitch over two threads; it is also worked in tent stitches. Condition: The dark brown dye has run onto the ground. The sampler has light to moderate fading, depending on the color. The sampler is not framed.
Object Number: 1972.20.0
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