Mary Anne Bixby,

Mary Anne Bixby,

Ipswich, Suffolk, England, 1825

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sampler size: 12” x 12” • framed size: 15”x 15” • price: sold

This sampler is appealing on many levels – it offers wonderful pictorial subjects, is aesthetically very pleasing, the samplermaker included the name of her town as part of her inscription, the quality of the needlework is excellent, and she was only 6 years old!  Her inscription, “Mary Anne Bixby Aged 6 Y in March 31, 1825 Ipswich,” appears in a fully worked white field, an impressive amount of work for any stitcher. 

The cat seated between little pine trees is delightful, as are the stags and oak trees. They’re inside enclosures that seem to have been charmingly shaped to allow space for large butterflies. Birds and tiny spotted dogs sit above, joined by a row of pale blue sawtooths. The border is formed of stylized carnations on a double arcade framework, framing the composition well.

Mary Anne was born March 31, 1819, first of seven children born to William and Elizabeth (Youngman) Bixby. She was baptized at St. Nicholas Church in Ipswich. William was a carpenter and Elizabeth was a schoolmistress. Mary Anne married in 1843 and worked, quite notably, as a milliner. Mary Anne’s husband, Isaac Bass (1820-1863) was a house painter and plumber; they lived in Ipswich and had at least two children. 

The sampler was worked in silk on wool and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted into its original molded frame. 


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