Eliza Shewcraft,

England, 1788

sampler size: 29" x 8½" framed size: 31" x 10½" • sold

An excellent, large sampler worked in the classic vertical format of 18th century samplers, this is signed, “Eliza Shewcraft sampler made in the year of our Lord and in the 11th year of her age 1788.” 

The lengthy text that Eliza carefully stitched reads: 

Lord who’s the happy man / That may to thy best courts repair / Not stranger-like to visit them / But to inhabit there.

Tis he who’s every thought and deed by rules / Of virtue moves who’s generous tongue disdains / To speak the truth his heart disproves

Who never did a slander forge / His neighbors fame to wound / Nor harken to a false report by malice whispered round.

Who vice though pomp and power / Can treat with just neglect and piety / Tho cloth’d in rags religiously respect 

Who to his plighted vows and trust has ever firmly stood / And tho he promised to his loss makes his promise good 

Who’s soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ / whom no reward can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy

The man who buy this steady course has happiness ensured / When earth's foundation shakes shall stand by Providence secured

Interestingly, while looking for the source of this text we found it in a letter written in 1825 by Thomas Jefferson in a letter offering words of wisdom to the son of dear friend, a namesake, Thomas Jefferson Smith, a year before his death: https://1776history.com/2019/02/14/advice-from-a-founding-father/  It was said to be a popular Christian hymn in the 18th century.

The last sentence, “To duty fear and love we owe God above,” was likely Eliza’s own addition to finish the sampler. 

Small pictorial motifs including lions, little men, deer, potted flowers and trees decorate the lower portion of the sampler. A wonderful row of little birds march along the bottom of the sampler with the date, 1788, interspersed.

The surname, Shewcraft, is an unusual one and seems to have been used interchangeably with Shawcraft, Shawcroft and Shawcross. Eliza may have been the daughter of John Shawcroft, of Alfreton, Derbyshire, England, baptized on October 29, 1781. 

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a molded and black painted frame. 


photo of the reverse


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