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Sampler
1793
Embroiderer:Embroidered by Lucy Spalding , American, 1778 - 1795
Embroidery; silk threads on a plain-woven undyed linen ground
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 17 x 15 7/8in. (43.2 x 40.3cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Hezekiah L. Hosmer
Gallery Copy: Lucy’s sampler exemplifies characteristic forms of a strong local sampler-making tradition centered around the southeastern Connecticut town of Norwich, a prosperous port on the Thames River. Her mother died when she was eight, so it would have been likely that Lucy be sent to school among her mother’s many Norwich relatives. When Lucy herself died at age seventeen, her sampler passed to one of these relatives whose son donated it to the CHS. In contrast to the embroiderer’s evident delight in color and form, the verses sound a stern, Old Testament caution: “Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman that feareth the lord she shall be praised. Strength and honour are her clothing and she shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:30).
Description: Sampler worked in dark brown, dark blue-green, medium blue-green, medium brown, purple, cream, pink, light green, and light brown silk threads on a plain-woven linen ground in cross stitches (over two threads) and other stitches. The sampler is squarish, oriented vertically. It is laid out with seven rows of three alphabets, and an inscription, over three inscriptions, over the numbers 1 through 11. The first inscription is "july 1793". The first inscription is enclosed by a top and bottom border consisting of queen stitches. The second inscription is "Lucy Spalding's Samplar Æ 14". The third inscription is "Favour is dec/ eitful and beauty/ is vain but a wo/ man that feareth/ the lord she shall/ be praised". The fourth inscription is "Strength and/ honour are her/ clothing and she/ shall rejoice in/ time to come". The alphabets and the first two inscriptions are in the center of the piece. This center section is surrounded by a wide four-sided border containing various compartmentalized designs. The designs include bold geometric vine designs with large flowers, most of which are in bloom, a number of plant and flower motifs, and a landscape view in the bottom border that contains, from left to right, a plant, at least three sheep sitting under two pine trees, a plant, a large tree, a plant, a sitting buck, a plant, a large tree, and a plant; these motifs are embroidered to scale. The border section at the left is solidly stitched. The verse inscriptions are in both lower corners; below each is a short section of a Greek key border. Certain lines of alphabets in the sampler are separated by narrow straight borders. The sampler has a 3/16-inch double-turned hem on the top, right side, and bottom edges, and selvedge at left side edge. The sampler is not framed. Letters and Numbers: There are three alphabets and the numbers 1-11. The letters are uppercase block in alphabets 1 and 2, and lowercase block in alphabet 3. The letter J is not present in any alphabet; the letter U is present in all alphabets. The first alphabet is larger than the others, with generally each two uppercase letters worked in a different stitch and in a different color. The letter V in the first alphabet infringes the right border. Stitches: The sampler is worked in cross over two threads, rice, tent, Algerian eye, cross over one, bullion, and queen stitches. Condition: The sampler has minimal to moderate fading, depending on color. The sampler is not framed.
Design Note: This center section of the sampler is surrounded by a wide four-sided border containing various compartmentalized designs; these are arranged in a similar fashion as samplers known to be from Rev. Nott's School in Franklin, Connecticut. Based on the solidly stitched section of border at the left, it appears that the maker may have intended to continue with a solidly stitched background throughout the border. (Wittman 6/30/2007) Text Note: The embroidered verse in the lower left corner copies Proverbs 31:30 (King James Version): "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." The embroidered verse on the right copies Proverbs 31:25 (King James Version): "Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come." (Hunt 8/7/2007)
Object Number: 1859.18.2
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