Martha T. Brooking,

Martha T. Brooking,

probably Virginia, 1807

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sampler size: 14½” x 11¾” • frame size: 17¼” x 14½” • sold

An endearing sampler, this is signed by the maker, Martha T. Brooking, and dated 1807. She included several nicely worked motifs, notably a tiered tower with birds perched on it with two baskets piled high with fruit. The biblical passage, “Remember thy Creator in the Days of thy youth…” is carefully stitched in the top portion of the sampler. A fine border surrounds it on four sides and a skillfully made outer edging of delicate drawnwork finishes it well.

While we can’t be absolutely certain, the maker was likely Martha Taylor Brooking who was born on April 13, 1797, the daughter of Thomas Vivian Brooking (1770-1850) and his wife Elizabeth Mary Ann Massie Sherwin (1772-1835), of Virginia. Thomas was a graduate of William and Mary College in 1753 and an officer in the Virginia militia. Martha would have been ten years when she worked this sampler. She married John B. Kerr, a tobacconist, and they lived in Richmond. Martha died at age 85 in 1882.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in very good condition with some minor areas of weakness to the linen. It has been conservation mounted and is in its original mahogany beveled frame. 

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