Elen Martha Alstad, Norway, circa 1834

Elen Martha Alstad, Norway, circa 1834

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sampler size: 12½” x 16¼” • framed size: 14½” x 18¼” • sold

Norwegian samplers worked onto bright red dyed wool are extremely rare and we have been fortunate enough to have owned one other in our many years in this field; we are delighted to have just recently discovered this fine example made by Elen Martha Alstad. It was stitched to its original paper backing on which was written a family notation, “Made by Grandma Rost about year 1834.” This led to the identification of Elen and then to her husband, Carl Rost, and their emigration to America.

The sampler features a charming arrangement of motifs, some of them worked in extremely fine tent stitch, with a center tree with a large bird perched on it and a pair of stags flanking it. It’s partially unfinished, as more motifs could have been worked to the left of the tree. Alphabets appear at the top, but also down the sides and partially along the bottom. Delicate border designs frame it nicely.

Records indicate that Elen was born on March 18, 1820 and that her father was “Ole” Alstad. She married Carl Edvard Rost on April 18, 1847 in Domkirk, Trondheim, Sor Trondelag, Norway. The couple had at least seven children in this same area of Norway and emigrated to the United States by 1880. They lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and census records show that Carl was a tailor. Elen Martha died there in 1893, Carl in 1910 and both are buried in Forest Home Cemetery.

The sampler was worked in silk on red wool and it is in excellent condition with some very slight stabilization to the wool. It has been conservation mounted into an early 20th century frame. The original paper with family notation accompanies the sampler along with the genealogical research file.

note on original back paper

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