Rebecca Emerson,

Rebecca Emerson,

New England, circa 1807

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sampler size: 16½” x 10½” • framed size: 19” x 13” • price: $2300

This appealing sampler is notable for the unusual and very pleasing verse, the charming little house scene and the neatly stitched alphabets; the format is that of a classic 18th century vertical band sampler.  The samplermaker was Rebecca Emerson who stitched her birthdate – “born Dec.r 16 1795” - and she most likely would have been between 10 and 12 years old when she made this.

The alphabets fill the top two-thirds of her sampler. The lettering is all in black silk, in the fashion of printed letters on a page, but each narrow band that divides the lettering throughout is nicely worked in light blue, ivory dusty rose. The lower register is the strength of Rebecca’s work. The verse offers a remarkably positive sentiment, one rarely found on samplers of this period: “Long may we live. Happy may we be. Blest with content. And from misfortunes free”. It had been published in a book, The Warbler; or, Sweets of Harmony Selected: Being a Collection of the best and most admired SONGS, AIRS, MEDLEYS AND CANTATAS … To which is added, a large Collection of Smart TOASTS and SENTIMENTS (London, 1772) - a delightful and unusually uplifting collection. Rebecca’s accompanying small pictorial scene includes a double-chimney, two story house on a deep teal lawn, with a large willowing tree and springhouse.

The narrow four-sided border is a carefully worked repetition of waves with a leafy sprig in the four corners and a strong black line edging that provides an excellent visual frame for the sampler.

The sampler is certainly from New England and in that Miss Emerson provided her birthdate we are hopeful that further research will specifically identify her. Worked in silk on linen, this sampler remains in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted into a black painted, molded frame.

image of the reverse

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