Maryette Harris

Middletown, Connecticut, 1826

sampler size: 15" x 18" • framed size: 19¼” x 22¼” • sold

This outstanding Connecticut sampler is signed, "Maryette Harris wrought this in the 12th year of her age, Middletown, July 1826" and features a very large solidly stitched oval scene of a fine Federal house along with a smaller one, set on a lawn with curving fences, with flowering plants, fruit and leafy trees and a beautiful pale blue sky that finished the scene. A narrow chain-stitched border surrounds the oval and four flower bouquets in the corner area echoing the flowers inside the scene. 

Two tightly stitched aphorisms were carefully worked, “Sincerity and truth form the basis of every virtue,” and, “Count that day lost whose low descending sun Views from thy hand no worthy action done.” Eight lines entitled, “Religion,” are set vertically, which may have been the only way the samplermaker found to fit them into her composition. 

The sampler is part of a small, important group of samplers made in Middletown that share characteristics. Only a few of these samplermakers set their pictorial scenes in an oval and we find this composition adds significantly to the aesthetic appeal. 

Maryette Harris was born on May 4, 1815, the daughter of Capt. William Harris (1782-1873) and Mary (Bidwell) Harris (1785-1836). Her maternal grandfather, Ashbel Bidwell, served in the Revolutionary War, 5th Connecticut Regiment. The Harris family ancestry in Connecticut began with Damiel Harris (c.1612-1701) who was born in England and emigrated to Connecticut, becoming an original Middletown proprietor in 1670. 

Maryette married Sylvester Deering Crowell (1816-1896) in 1827 and they remained in the area where they had seven children. She died in 1900 at age 84 and is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery with many family members. 

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a period beveled bird's-eye maple frame.


Harris portrait
photo of Maryette, circa 1870


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