Mary Shedaker,

Mary Shedaker,

Burlington County, New Jersey, 1821

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sampler size: 19½" x 15½" • framed size: 23" x 19" • sold

A praiseworthy sampler with excellent composition and color, this is signed, “Mary Shedaker’s Wrought in her 16th year 1821.” Mary featured a splendid scene of a double-chimney Federal brick house with a brilliant blue roof; it sits on a green stepped lawn with two little dogs, trees and birds nearby. The three green striped two-handled urns in the center of the sampler are classic Quaker sampler motifs that were quite popular in the period in southern New Jersey and can be found on many other samplers made by schoolgirls who were taught by Quaker instructresses. The verse was written as a hymn by Isaac Watts and was widely published.

Mary paid great attention to detail on her sampler. A charming little sheep appears at the end of her lowercase alphabet and two queen’s-stitched strawberries are floating near her pine trees. The green sawtooth that encloses her inscription and verse was also worked in the queen’s-stitch and the border along the top of the sampler is an unusual one, anchored by large tulips in the corners.

Mary was most likely the daughter of Jacob Shedaker (1776-1849) and his wife Mary (Coles) Shedaker (1775-1819) who were married in Burlington in 1796. Jacob’s grandfather, William Shedaker (b. 1727) was a Quaker, belonging to Chesterfield Monthly Meeting in Burlington County although subsequent generations did not remain affiliated with Friends Meetings. The many variations of the spelling of the family name - including Shadiker and Shadacre - have made research difficult but we hope to discover more details about Mary’s life.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in its fine, original beveled mahogany veneer frame.

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