Maria Ann Wilkes,

Maria Ann Wilkes,

England, circa 1830

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sampler size: 17½” x 11½” • framed size: 21¾” x 15¾” • sold

In golden hues, Maria Ann Wilkes stitched this pictorial sampler when she was just eight years old. Remarkably tight stitches form numerous flowers on vining plants and decorative bands. In the top register butterflies mingle with flower sprigs and a pair of angels hold a crown over the words “Glory be to God on High.” Central to the overall sampler composition and elevated by the space Maria allowed around it, is the tenet “Vice is degrading.” A remarkably grounding maxim from an eight-year-old girl.

Surrounding her inscription, Maria created a scene below of a grand 3-chimney house with decorative fencing extending from both sides and a harlequin pattern lawn reaching from the façade. A plethora of animals are included, as well: deer, peacocks, birds, a dog and a lion. Above, a glimpse of countryside with a building and hillock in the background and two bunnies chasing each other in the foreground. Trees and swallowtail birds, or butterflies, complete the scene.

Worked in silk on wool, Miss Wilkes sampler remains in excellent condition with a very few tiny moth holes that have been secured. It has been conservation mounted into its original bird’s eye maple frame with a gold liner.

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