Elizabeth Gould,

Elizabeth Gould,

Salem, Massachusetts, 1799

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sampler size: 10½” x 7¾” • framed size: 13” x 10¼” • sold

A splendid group of samplers of Salem, Massachusetts is characterized by long, lustrous silk stiches that form delightful animals on hillocks and the borders are composed of flowers that climb up the sides and along the top. While many of these samplers were made by more advanced schoolgirls, ten-year-old Elizabeth Gould worked this endearing little sampler as an early effort. Nonetheless, she included another trademark of the Salem samplers, a billowing blue sky that finishes the pictorial register along the bottom nicely.

The Gould family in Massachusetts began with Thomas Gould who was born in 1613 in England and emigrated to Massachusetts by 1640. His son, Thomas Gould, II (1639-1690) lived in Salem and five generations later Elizabeth Gould was born. Her parents were James Gould (1761-1799) and Mary (Watts) Gould (1763-1849) who were married in Salem in 1782; her baptism on March 1, 1789 was recorded in the vital records of Salem. On July 22, 1810, Elizabeth married a highly successful merchant and shipmaster of Salem, Henry King (c. 1784-1834). A portrait of Henry King is described in Portraits of Shipmasters and Merchants in the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem by Walter Muir Whitehall (Salem, 1939) and much information is provided. King invested in and commanded a number of vessels during the height of Salem’s shipping prosperity. He was a member of the Salem Marine Society and the East India Marine Society and they lived at 389 Essex Street. Of their five children Henry Franklin King (1811-1888) was particularly notable as a ship captain and merchant, and upon retirement from the seas, he became an esteemed naturalist. His portrait is also in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum. Elizabeth remained a widow for many years and died in 1880 at age 91.

This sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a painted early 19th century frame. 

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