Pictorial Needlework, Bird and Basket Group,

Pictorial Needlework, Bird and Basket Group,

Canterbury, New Hampshire, circa 1810-20

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sampler size: 8” x 13” • framed size: 10¾” x 15¾” • sold

This small needlework picture offers enormous visual appeal. It is similar to a very few known unsigned American pieces that have surfaced over the years and these seem to have been made as accompaniments to large, fully-developed samplers; they were likely made as practice pieces to allow a stitcher to experiment with anticipated elements or motifs prior to beginning her full sampler. While we can’t know who made it, the pictorial elements leave no doubt as to where it was made. The basket with scalloped edging, leafy vines with berries, buds and flowers, the fat, expressive bird heavily outlined in black and the unusual stylized, tiered tree all place it firmly in the group of samplers called the “Bird and Basket Samplers”, made in Canterbury or one of the nearby towns along the Merrimack River in New Hampshire.

The samplers of this group all exhibit a splendidly lyrical and free-form quality and were made over approximately 45 years in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Curators and scholars have studied this group for many years, beginning with an exhibit at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College in 1990, Lessons Stitched in Silk: Samplers from the Canterbury Region of New Hampshire, curated by Joanne and Ted Foulk. We are pleased to offer this splendid and rare example.

Worked in silk on linen, it is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted into an early 19th century painted frame.

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