Julia A. Thorne, Hempstead,

Julia A. Thorne, Hempstead,

Long Island, New York, 1832

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sampler size: 17½” x 16½” • framed size: 21” x 20” • sold

This handsome sampler, worked by Julia A. Thorne in 1832, boasts an outstanding border of grape bunches and leaves on tendrilled vines – one of the loveliest patterns that we know of to appear on a sampler. The verse that fills the center is a variation of one published in the early 19th century; it ends aptly with “Be thine dear girl what ne’er shall fade / The beauties of the mind.”

The sampler exhibits a characteristic that appears on many samplers from New York City and nearby areas: the border is structured around a pole or rod that is wrapped with ribboning and then decorated, in this case with the aforementioned grape bunches and vines.

Julia Ann Thorne was born on June 18, 1821, the daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Searing) Thorne.  Samuel was a ship builder in New York City for some time, with an address at South and Water Streets; by the late 1820s the family resided in Hempstead, Long Island. Information about the Thorne family is published in Genealogies of Long Island Families, Vol. II (Genealogical Publishing Co, INC, 1922). Julia married, as his second wife, James Harper (1795-1869), founder, in 1817, and senior partner of J & J Harper, the publishing firm now known as HarperCollins. A politician as well, he served as mayor of New York for a one year term in 1844-45. His accomplishments and contributions to New York are many; we enjoyed learning that he banished free-roaming pigs from the streets of the city.

Julia Ann Thorne Harper outlived her husband by many years. The mansion that she continued to live in, at 4 Gramercy Park West, was noted in its day. A photo of the dining room (see below) is published in The Opulent Interiors of the Gilded Age (Dover Publications, New York, 1987). Julia died on April 25, 1902 and is buried in the Greenfield Cemetery, in Nassau County, along with other Thorne family members.

The sampler is worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition with slight weakness to the linen at the top. It has been conservation mounted and is in a beveled frame with a black outer bead. 

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