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Sampler
1798
Embroiderer:Embroidered by Catherine Wadsworth , American, 1786 - 1860
Embroidery; silk thread on a plain-woven, undyed linen ground
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 12 7/8 x 12in. (32.7 x 30.5cm)
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Gallery Copy: Twelve-year-old Catherine Wadsworth located her embroidery within the history of the American republic by stitching: “Done in the 23rd year of the Independenc (sic) of the United States of America.” The solidly worked pink background vividly sets off the dark green stitching of this inscription. A second inscription, now difficult to read, refers to a popular quotation by Alexander Pope: “’Tis Education forms the tender mind / just as the twig is bent the tree’s Inclind.” Five distinctive, abstracted pine trees link to the quote.
Description: Sampler worked in dark greens, pink, medium green, cream, light brown and purple silk threads on a plain-woven linen ground in cross stitches. The sampler is squarish, oriented vertically. It is laid out with five rows of two alphabets, the numbers 1 through 10 and the word "Miss", over two inscriptions, over a horizontal band of pictorial motifs at the bottom. The first inscription is "Catherine Wadsworth Aged 12 years/ Done in the 23rd year of the Independenc/ of the United States of America AD [one character] 1798". The word "Independenc" encroaches the right border. The second inscription is a literary verse, "Tis Education forms the tender mind/ just as the twig is bent the tree's Inclind". The pictorial motifs include five evenly spaced trees. The largest tree is in the center. The background of the first inscription is solidly stitched. There is a multi-colored diamond after the first alphabet. Certain lines of alphabet, numbers and text are separated by various narrow borders, including straight and meandering lines. The sampler has a double four-sided border. The outermost border has a wavy design; the innermost border has a stylized vine/flower design. The sampler has a 1/8- to 3/16-inch double-turned hem on all four edges. The sampler is not framed or permanently mounted. It is encased in a covered mat. Letters and Numbers: There are two alphabets and the numbers 1-10. The letters are uppercase block in the alphabet 1 and lowercase block in alphabet 2. The letters J and U are present in alphabet 1. The letter 'j' is not present in alphabet 2; the letter 'u' is present. The letter A is repeated in the uppercase alphabet. The embroiderer uses long 's'. Stitches: The sampler is done in cross stitch (over two and over one). Condition: The sampler has some small holes. The sampler has minimal to light fading. It has nail holes along all four edges. The sampler is not framed or permanently mounted. It is encased in a covered mat.
Technique Note: According to conservator Elena Phipps, the ground has ten threads per centimeter in the warp and the weft. The sampler is worked with warp threads running horizontally. (Hunt 4/14/2007)
Inscription: "Loaned by/ Mrs. L. S. Bigelow." is inscribed in black ink on one side of the frame backing paper. The paper was removed from the sampler and is now in an envelope in the object file.
Object Number: 1987.48.0
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