Pennsylvania German Sampler

Pennsylvania German Sampler

probably Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 1843

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sampler size: 12¼” x 10¾” • framed size: 14” x 12½” • sold

A handsome alphabet and motif sampler, this is an excellent example of the fascinating samplers that were made by Pennsylvania German girls throughout the first half of the 19th century. The great number of elements include birds, plants and flowers, little animals and crowns, all arranged in what is call the Random Motif style. The stylized heart at lower left contains the initials WR, likely those of the maker. The date, 1843, is nearby, above a pair of birds. This sampler may have been made by a Schwenkfelder girl in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania as it shares characteristic with other known examples.

Most notable is the third alphabet, a large uppercase font; these letters are barely recognizable to our eye. They were, however, very familiar to the Pennsylvania German community and are well-documented as the exact letters that were used in the calligraphic art of Fraktur – ink and watercolor birth and marriage certificates. This specific alphabet is published in Papers for Birth Dayes: Guide to the Fraktur Artists and Scriveners (1997).

The sampler was worked in silk on tightly woven linen. It is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted into a molded and painted black frame.


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