Cordelia Latham Bennet,

Cordelia Latham Bennet,

Biblical Adam & Eve Group,
New York, New York, circa 1806 to 1808
Provenance: Theodore H. Kapnek Collection, Betty Ring Collection

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sampler size: 15” x 19¼” • framed size: 19¼” x 23½” • sold

This praiseworthy Adam and Eve sampler, part of an important group called the Biblical Samplers of New York, has been well known to scholars and collectors for many years. It has been in two highly esteemed collections, the Theodore H. Kapnek Collection and then the Betty Ring Collection and was published accordingly in A Gallery of American Samplers: The Theodore H Kapnek Collection by Glee F. Krueger figure 56 (E.P. Dutton, 1978) and American Needlework Treasures: Samplers and Silk Embroideries from the Collection of Betty Ring by Betty Ring, figure 50 (E.P. Dutton, 1987). The sampler was twice exhibited at the Museum of American Folk Art, as well. The provenance of this sampler adds greatly to its importance. 

Depicting tall figures of Adam and Eve flanking a large central apple tree with a fat dark brown serpent encircling the trunk, this sampler also features large, nicely detailed houses, sizable birds, bird cages, little people and small black dogs. It is signed, “Cordelia Latham Bennet Was Born March The 19 In the Year of Our Lord 1798” and further inscribed, “This I Do To Let You See What Care My Parents Took Of Me.” A lowercase alphabet and numbers 1,2,3 were stitched in an unusual fashion down the left edge, outside of the border.

Interestingly, Cordelia worked another sampler that was also in the Ring collection. Dated 1807, this sampler is fully worked with a beautiful, large flower basket and surrounded on four sides by a border very much like that on our Adam and Eve sampler. The 1807 sampler made by Cordelia was exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1934.

Cordelia was the daughter of Captain Job Bennet (1770-1842), a shipmaster and grocer, and his wife Phebe Bennet (1774-1840). They lived in New York City and on July 22, 1822, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church of New York, Cordelia married Laning Ferris (1796-1858), a butcher. They had at least four children and remained in New York. The 1850 census shows Cordelia and Laning living with some of their adult children and their grandchildren. Cordelia died on June 13, 1856 in Manhattan.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in very good condition with some very minor color running and some very minor loss to the inner sawtooth border at the bottom. It has been conservation mounted and is in a fine mahogany frame. 

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