Ann Flack, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1827


Ann Flack, Bucks County,

Pennsylvania, 1827

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sampler size: 16¼” x 14½” • framed size: 20” x 18¼” • price: $11,000

Ann Flack’s sampler is an outstanding example of the many appealing and folky Pennsylvania samplers made in the 1820s and 1830s. While the composition is symmetrical, the handling of the images is wonderfully free-form and the result is a sampler with a fresh and organic character. Of particular note is the praiseworthy border, the basket filled with flowers, the willow trees and the pair of little dogs that stand guard at the lower edges of the stepped-terrace lawn. The appealing verse that Ann stitched extols the role of virtue as the noblest ornament of humankind; it was used by samplermakers as early as the 18th century.

The history of the Flack family in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, has been well documented and widely published since the mid-19th century by family and county historians. The immigrant ancestor was James Flack (circa 1708-1802), who was born in Ireland and, according to family legend, married Miss Ann Baxter in 1732, on board the ship as they sailed to America. Generations of family members lived in and around Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where they were highly regarded farmers, storekeepers, teachers and innkeepers, serving as well in the military during the Revolutionary War. James and Ann were the great-grandparents of our samplermaker, who was born on April 27, 1815 to Joseph and Mary (Lake) Flack, the eldest of their eleven children. In 1844 Ann Flack married George Opdyke (1796-1865), at the Neshaminy Presbyterian Church. They did not have children and remained in the area. Ann was last recorded in the 1880 and died sometime after that.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a mahogany and maple cornerblock frame.

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