Theresa Sawonek, probably Poland, 1845

Theresa Sawonek, probably Poland, 1845

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sampler size: 17” x 13¼” • framed size: 19¼” x 15½” • price: $1400

This sampler was worked in 1845 and features Berlin Work motifs, which were just coming into fashion at this time. Berlin Work was named for the published patterns of pictorial elements, which were then translated by the needleworker in the petit point technique, and generally in wool, which was also gaining popularity at this time.

Our stitcher is Theresa Sawonek, her first name varying in spelling and her last name is Polish. Along with the date, she stitched a pair of initials, E & F, perhaps those of her parents. It is unclear if she was living in Poland, or of Polish decent and living in the Midwest United States, as there were large communities in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Indeed there was a framer’s label from Milwaukee affixed to the later 19th century frame that had accompanied the sampler.

The pictorial elements featured on Miss Sawonek’s needlework were widely used and classic ones: wreaths and floral compositions, animals, a hunting scene and children at play; as well as other people at leisure, a large overstuffed fruit compote, and a religious addition, too.

Worked in wool on a coarse linen ground, this sampler remains in excellent condition, and little loss to the wool. It has been conservation mounted into a black painted frame.

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