Eliza Woods,

Eliza Woods,

Pettigo School, Ireland, 1849

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sampler size: 11½” x 7¼” • framed size: 14½" x 10¼" • sold

This handsome Irish sampler is a fine example and we are pleased to offer it as we aren’t generally able to find documented Irish samplers. Eliza Woods, working in 1849 at age 12, inscribed a quotation from the King James Bible and stitched a large crown to illustrate it. A swan, bird, butterfly and a fruit basket provide further embellishment.

An article entitled, Irish Schoolgirl Samplers by Maureen Wlodarczyk is published on our site and provides much information about the background of this sampler:

“According to the 1846 edition of Slater’s Commercial Directory of Ireland, Pettigo was “a small market town” near Lower Lough Erne sitting partially in County Donegal and partly in County Fermanagh with a “small stream” dividing the little town and the two counties. The description went on to call the local countryside “romantic and picturesque” while saying that the town had very little trade going on but for that connected to fairs and the local market. Local religious institutions included Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Wesleyan Methodist, Primitive Methodist and what was simply referred to as the Parish Church (presumably Church of Ireland). Slater’s listed a resident surgeon, land surveyor, constable and local tradespeople including a carpenter, butcher, saddler, ironmonger, baker, and a cooper along with multiple blacksmiths, grocers, drapers, shoemakers and tailors. Pettigo also had an active mill powered by a local waterfall.

In the mid-19th century Pettigo was also home to two schools, the Parochial School under the direction of James Copeland and Mary Copeland, listed as the master and mistress of that school, and the National School where John McAffery served as master. Eliza worked her sampler while a student at one of those schools. The Griffith’s Valuation of 1857 listed a James Woods living on Mill Street in Pettigo, a tenant renting house and yard from the Leslie family, prominent owners of large land holdings in the area. There is also a James Woods interred in the Templecarne Graveyard in Pettigo, having died there at the age of 83 in 1889, very possibly the same man.”

Perhaps James was Eliza’s father or other family member. Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a period beveled and painted black fame.



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