Hannah Atkinson,

Hannah Atkinson,

Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts, 1755

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sampler size: 17” x 16” • framed size: 20” x 19” • price: sold

This very finely stitched sampler is signed, “Hannah Atkinson Born September 20 1743 / This Sampler I did the Year 1755.” Hannah was the daughter of Ichabod and Priscilla (Bailey) Atkinson; the Atkinsons were one of the prominent, early families who settled in Newbury and Newburyport, Massachusetts. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts by William Richard Cutter (Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1908) publishes much about the family, informing us that the family in America began with brothers, Thomas and Theodore from Lancashire, who arrived prior to 1636 and settled in Concord. Thomas’ son, John Atkinson (1636-1702), settled in Newbury in 1662. 

Interestingly, the house that John built in the 1660’s, on the upper green in Newbury, remains standing and has been lovingly restored. It was published and illustrated in an article in The Magazine Antiques (July, 1995), entitled “Newbury and Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1635-1835”, by William Nathaniel Banks. Hannah was born there, three generations later, the 5th of 9 children of Ichabod, a hatter and feltmaker. She made this sampler at age 12 and family information states that she died young.  

Betty Ring, author of Girlhood Embroidery: American Samplers & Pictorial Embroideries 1650 - 1850, vol I, wrote much about the samplers of Newbury and Newburyport. “In the 1750s, if not earlier, a skilled embroideress was teaching in Newbury and during the next sixty years Newbury and Newburyport girls produced an extraordinary number of handsome samplers.” Figure 126, a sampler worked in 1754 by Anna Fowler, is markedly similar to our Hannah Atkinson sampler which was made one year later. The girls signed their samplers with identical phrasing, many of the bands are the same patterns and the same trefoil border surrounds both samplers. The needlework is extremely fine on both samplers. 

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. A photo taken of the reverse prior to mounting (see below) is instructive, as we can see that the original colors were close to the way the sampler presents currently. It has been conservation mounted and is in a molded frame. 

 

Photo of reverse

 

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