Elizabeth Owens,

Elizabeth Owens,

Schenectady, New York, 1834

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sampler size: 17½” x 17” • framed size: 21½” x 21” • sold

This is a handsome sampler with an excellent composition and fine needlework. It was made by Elizabeth Owens of Schenectady when she was 12 years old in 1834 and features a scene of a large double-chimney Federal house set within a scene of fences, baskets of fruit and stylized pine trees. Pairs of birds finish the scene nicely and a wonderful aphorism was stitched above it all, “The acquisition of knowledge is one of the most honourable occupations of youth.” The alphabets, six lines of verse and inscription are further embellished with narrow patterned bands, potted flowers, little birds, tiny stars and even a tiny peacock at the far right. The two geometric motifs in the upper corners add nicely to the composition. This sampler closely resembles three other samplers worked in Schenectady; two of these are dated 1837. This group indicates that an instructress of considerable talent was teaching girls there in the 1830s.  

In that genealogical records from New York state are not at all thorough, details about Elizabeth Owens can’t be found. Notably, the 1820 census for Schenectady includes a head of household, Elizabeth Owens, and she might well be the mother of our samplermaker.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a beveled cherry frame with a maple outer bead. 

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