Lydia Conant,

Lydia Conant,

Harvard, Worcester County,
Massachusetts, 1795

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sampler size: 10¾” x 11½” • framed size: 13” x 13¾” • price: $2900

Lydia Conant’s fine 18th century sampler was worked in a handsome, well-composed square format with some band designs that were popular earlier in the century. She signed her work along the bottom, “Lydia Conant AE 11 Harvard August 12 1795,” which easily lent to identifying her as the daughter of Corporal Reuben (1757-1804) and Lydia (Dudley) Conant (1761-1831), born in 1783 in Harvard, a town 36 miles west and north of Boston. The family is described inA History and Genealogy of the Conant Family in England and America by Frederick Odell Conant (Portland, 1887) and had been in Massachusetts for many generations, beginning with Roger Conant (1592-1679).

Lydia was the oldest of seven children and their father was honored as a Corporal in the Revolutionary War, serving under Captain Manasseh Sawyer of neighboring Lancaster, Massachusetts. He served three years in the Continental Army in this company, as published in History of the Town of Harvard Massachusetts 1732-1893 by Henry Nourse (W.J. Coulter Printer, 1894). Lydia died young, at age 17 in 1799.

The sampler begins with rusty red and deep green alphabets, followed by four lines of verse regarding the cycle of life. In the lower register Lydia worked two overstuffed baskets with patchwork pyramids of fruit and surrounded by flowering vines and sprigs. The original color of the sampler is greatly retained – see the photo of the reverse (below) taken prior to mounting.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler remains in excellent condition, with a few stiches missing from the first “n” of her surname. It has been conservation mounted into a black painted, molded frame.

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