Eliza Kennedy,

Eliza Kennedy,

Belfast, Ireland, 1815

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sampler size: 19½” x 11½” • framed size: 22” x 14” • price: $1100

Samplers from Ireland are highly sought after in that they are significantly more rare than those made in England, yet they were just as important a part of a schoolgirl’s education there as in the British Isles or America. This sampler is in fact one of the earliest samplers we’ve known from Ireland, worked in 1815 by Eliza Kennedy in Belfast. Prior to 1921, when Northern Island partitioned and remained a part of Great Britain, Belfast grew rapidly and rivaled Dublin as Ireland’s largest city; it was indeed Ireland’s largest port and most industrious city in the 19th century. Presumably, education would flourish in such a city during this time period.

Eliza Kennedy’s sampler reveals her skill to stitch particularly tiny and fine stitches, creating a variety of alphabets, numbers and three stanzas of The Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope (1688-1744) flanked by fruit trees. Equally fine, decorative borders were included throughout.

Worked in silk on wool, Miss Kennedy’s sampler remains in good condition, but with some minor areas of loss throughout. It has been conservation mounted into a black painted, molded frame.

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