Barbara Gerz, Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania, 1810

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sampler size: 19¼” x 25” • framed size: 23¾” x 29½” • price: $18,500

In Girlhood Embroidery, vol. II, Betty Ring discusses a group of samplers that we find particularly appealing. In the section entitled, “Philadelphia in the Federal Period,” Mrs. Ring presents these samplers, which were made in the last years of the 18th century and very beginning of the 19th century. They feature large, sweeping lawns with sheep, a detailed house, fences and gates, large willow trees and figures in plumed hats.

Barbara Gerz’s 1810 sampler, a large and stunning pictorial composition, is a newly discovered addition to this group. Specific imagery that Barbara stitched, such as the very fat sheep, the lady at the well and another watering a large flowering bush and the large arbor nearby the house contribute wonderfully to this sampler. Much of the needlework was produced in unusually minute detail, creating textures that add to the aesthetic appeal of the piece. A sampler made by Jane Langdon Culver in 1819 relates to this Gerz example and is also included in this catalogue.

Specific identification of Barbara Gerz is unlikely but we can be certain that the Gerz family belonged to the large Pennsylvania German community living in and around Philadelphia.

Worked in silk on fine linen gauze, the sampler is in very good condition with several areas of loss or weakness to the linen; the needlework itself is in excellent condition. The sampler has been conservation mounted and is in a mahogany and figured maple frame. 

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