English Sampler with Girls

English Sampler with Girls

Jumping Rope, circa 1830

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sampler size: 12¾” x 11¼” • framed size: 16” x 14½” • sold

Delightful imagery fills this appealing sampler, stitched in England circa 1830. The top half displays a balance of flower and spot motifs, urns and a pair of buildings centered on a woman carrying more flowers and an enclosed initial H. A precise picket fence divides this half from the bottom, which features a large Cavalier spaniel flanked by a pair of classic overstuffed baskets and, quite unusually, two girls actively jumping rope. This image is one rarely found on samplers.

The Girl’s Own Book by Mrs. L. Maria Child was first published by Carter, Hendee and Babcock in 1834 and provides a glimpse into a girl’s leisure activities at this time. “Jumping Rope” is a chapter under the subject ACTIVE EXERCISES and the text begins with a strong advisory paragraph before listing the four ways of jumping rope. Mrs. Child then again marks an advisory note that one should not perform the more advanced styles of jumping rope before one has mastered the basic skill.

While our samplermaker will always remain anonymous, we do know a bit about Lydia Maria Francis Child (1802-1880) who wrote this instructional book for young girls. Remarkably, Lydia was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist and opponent of American expansionism. She was born in Medford, Massachusetts to an esteemed and highly educated family and a summary of her biography accompanies the sampler.

Worked in silk on wool, the sampler remains in excellent condition with a few very minor darned areas of weakness to the wool. It has been conservation mounted and is in a beveled frame with a beaded inner edge.


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