Gulielma Fell,

Gulielma Fell,

Springfield, Delaware County,
Pennsylvania, 1809

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sampler size: 21½” x 16¾” • framed size: 25¾” x 21” • price: $9200

We have long tracked a large group of samplers made in Philadelphia and surrounding towns that share central characteristics - brick houses set on lawns with gazeboes and water pumps nearby with blue-striped two-handled urns of flowers, pots of flowers, birds and pine trees providing further embellishment. Many of the motifs on these samplers show strong influence of the Quaker design elements that were taught to girls and were prevalent in the area. Gulielma Fell’s sampler, made in 1809, is a praiseworthy one that fits squarely into this group. The classic symmetry and excellent composition of the sampler add significantly to its appeal.

Subtle shadings, such as the pale pink roof, the blue steps within the green lawn leading to the front door and the delicate sawtooth edging throughout are notable, as are details such as the swans and flock of ducks on the grass along with the little sprig of flowers shared by the birds on top of the gazebo. The verse that Gulielma chose is a wonderful statement of Quaker beliefs, and is one not found on other samplers.

Gulielma was born February 27, 1792 to Edward Fell (born 1750) and Mary (Penrose) Fell (1755-1818); both of her parents were from early Quaker families that lived in and around Philadelphia. Her unusual first named was not as uncommon as one might suppose in that period in Pennsylvania as many girls, especially Quakers, were named Gulielma after Gulielma Maria (Springett) Penn (1644-1694), the first wife of William Penn. Edward and Mary Fell were married in 1774 at Richland Friends Meeting in Bucks County and Gulielma’s birth was recorded at the Chester Monthly Meeting. She was the 7th of 9 children and the family lived in Springfield, Delaware County. After her marriage in 1815 to farmer John Dunwoody (1787-1865), the family lived in Marple, Delaware County where they remained members of Chester Meeting. They had 7 children and Gulielma died in 1857, at age 66. Various sources, including published family genealogies, Quaker archives and census records provided information about the Fell, Penrose and Dunwoody families.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a cherry beveled frame with a figured maple outer bead.

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