Hannah L. Barker,

Hannah L. Barker,

Wilton, Hillsborough County,
New Hampshire, 1816

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sampler size: 19” x 18” • framed size: 21¾” x 20¾” • sold

Signed, “Hannah L. Barker Wrought this in the ninth year of her age Dec. 1816 xoxo,” this was made in Wilton, New Hampshire. Hannah was born in 1807 to Leonard, a farmer, and Hannah (Sawyer) Barker as the first of their eleven children. Two years after completing her sampler, in 1818, Hannah moved with her family to Salem, Washington County, New York.

The very pretty, flowering border reveals Miss Barker’s talent with a needle and thread. A basket and two cornucopias rest on a hilly lawn along the bottom and undulating stems grow up along the sides, and little yellow birds flutter beside each of the top flowerheads. A simplified geometric basket of flowers rests square along the top of the composition and a sawtooth framework extends from that, surrounding Hannah’s alphabets, verse and inscription.

Stitched in a pale blue color, which hasn’t much faded as evidenced by the image of the back of the sampler taken prior to mounting, below, are her practiced lettering: an uppercase alphabet, a lowercase alphabet, verse, and inscription. The verse, “The diamonds and the rubys rays xoxoxo Shine with a milder clearer flame xoxoxo And more attracts our love and praise Than beauties self is lost to fame xo,” is from a poem by Dr. James Fordyce (1720-1796), a doctor of divinity, and renowned for his Sermons to Young Women (1766). Hannah’s selected prose is the first stanza from his poem “Virtue and Ornament: an Ode. To the Ladies.” Sweetly, her lines end with x’s and o’s, though they likely didn’t hold the same meaning then as they do now.

Worked in silk on tan linen, this sampler remains in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted into a black painted frame.

(image of the reverse of the sampler)

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