Mary Norton,

Mary Norton,

Pennsylvania, 1818

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sampler size: 17¼” x 12¾” • framed size: 21” x 16½” • price: $6400

Mary Norton stitched this highly pleasing sampler, which includes a wonderful house and lawn scene, in 1818 when she was in her 14th year of age. A fine brick-style house with blue framed, mullioned windows, two chimneys lining the rooftop and flowering eyelet-stitched plants flanking the front door occupies the right quadrant of Mary’s sampler. A flock of black birds flies between the chimneys above the house and little animals, white sheep and a black dog graze in the green lawn the stretches out beyond the house. Upon the lawn, a woman in a rose pink dress and holding a reticule faces an enormous flowering plant in a double handled vase; three butterflies flutter above. A single linear border encases the scene and divides it from the lettering above.

Alphabets and numerical progressions, two-by-two in varying colored silk, span the top, along with compartmentalized prose: Miss Norton’s inscription and the first verse of the poem “Meditation in a Grove,” by Dr. [Isaac] Watts (1674-1748), as Mary notes. A framework of two-toned strawberries on a vine surround the composition on three sides. At the top the berries are densely Queen-stitched, and there at the center are white and blue flowers, also in the Queen stitch and proving her aptitude with the needle.

We have owned one other sampler that must have been from the same school and also worked in 1818. Made by Elizabeth Pearson, it very closely resembles this Mary Norton sampler.

Worked in silk on linen, Mary’s sampler remains in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is now in a fine walnut frame with line inlay.

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