Elizabeth F. Somerby, Newburyport, Massachusetts, circa 1823
Elizabeth F. Somerby,
Newburyport, Massachusetts, circa 1823
While many excellent samplers were made in Newburyport, Massachusetts, very few were worked on green linsey-woolsey. This sampler displays a handsome composition with a highly appealing verse and a beautiful pair of two-handled urns with flower arrangements. The maker’s inscription “Wrougt [sic] by Elizabeth F Somerby aged 8 years” is enclosed in a tightly worked oval framed within leafy branches; the sampler was worked in a fine palette of pastel colors, which shows beautifully on the strong green background.
Elizabeth Folsom Somerby was born on August 29, 1815 to Samuel and Mary (West Swasey) Somerby; her parents initially lived in Exeter, New Hampshire, and Elizabeth was born in Massachusetts. She was named for her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Folsom (born 1768). After our samplermaker’s mother died in 1816, her father married a sister of his late wife, Hannah, and they lived in Newburyport. It was there that Elizabeth, eight years old, worked this splendid sampler. The file of research that accompanies this sampler contains much further information.
Elizabeth married, at age 30 in 1843, Albert W. Lindsey (born 1822), a cabinetmaker and physician, and they had two sons. Of specific note is the fact that one of their granddaughters, Bertha Lindsay (1894-1990) was a highly respected and accomplished Shaker eldress of the Canterbury, New Hampshire Shaker Community. When she died at age 94, Bertha was one of the last of the Shakers and the New York Times published her extensive obituary.
The sampler is worked in silk on green linsey-woolsey and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a mahogany inlaid frame.