Marking samplers were generally the first project of a young stitcher’s education. They were elementary practice, as letters and numbers stitched onto household linens were the method of keeping track of the rotation of valuable textiles. Clarissa Howden worked this marking sampler when she was 9 years old in 1821. Much like the written word, she utilized an inky black brown silk thread onto her light tan linen ground.
Miss Howden was born in 1812 to John and Martha (Oldale) Howden in Sheffield, York, England. John and Martha wed in 1811 and Clarissa’s birth followed shortly after, as their first of five children. Her sampler was worked the same year as the birth of her youngest sibling, Ellen Eliza. Their father died not too long thereafter in 1827.
Worked in silk on linen, this sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted into a period wood frame.