Marietta Brown,

Mid-Atlantic, United States, 1846

sampler size: 15½” x 16½” • framed size: 20¾” x 19¾” • price: $1200

This sampler offers a strong, pictorial composition accomplished with brightly colored merino wool, a pleasing combination. Merino wool became very popular with needleworkers in the 1840s as it took color well in the dyeing process and was softer and more pliable than earlier wool yarns. This was made by Marietta Brown who stitched her birth date as well as “Aug  1846” - small but legible - at the base of the three-tower castle. This castle is a classic sampler motif that endured for centuries; Marietta’s addition of three blue birds perched on the little flags on each roof is particularly appealing. 

Other birds and several little dogs provide further animation. Interestingly, some of the elements are based on Quaker sampler motifs that were used by schoolgirls from the beginning of the 19th century on. An alphabet worked with large, uppercase letters and a rhythmic border with bright red strawberries complete the sampler nicely. 

Worked in wool on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a tiger-maple frame. 


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