Miniature Bible Text Sampler, Eliza Owen, “an orphan”

Miniature Bible Text Sampler, Eliza Owen, “an orphan”

Bristol, England, 1798

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sampler size: 6½” x 4¾” • framed size: 8” x 6¼” • price: $1800.

A praiseworthy gem, this sampler measures only 6½” x 4¾” yet presents three biblical texts, their sources as well as the name of the Reverend who delivered the particular sermon in each case. The samplermaker signed this, “Workd by Eliza Owen. an orphan in her 14th Year. July 24th, 1798.”

A strikingly similar sampler was just called to our attention and allows for confident attribution to the specific orphanage. The sampler was made at The Asylum for Poor Orphan Girls at Hooks Mill, Bristol in 1799 and the samplemaker, Sarah Hayes, included two similarly delivered excerpts from sermons on her sampler, also a fine miniature. The orphan girls were expected to make all of their clothing, with the exception of their bonnet and shoes, and the uniform was a dark blue dress with a white apron – the asylum came to be known as the “Blue Maids Orphanage” accordingly. The mission was, “to rescue destitute orphan children from the contaminating examples of idleness.” More information about this very interesting orphanage and asylum, founded in 1795, is available here:

A narrow border with solidly stitched triangular corner elements provides a good framework for the sampler. It was worked in silk on wool and is in very good condition with some loss and secured areas. It has been conservation mounted and is in a period black painted frame.





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