Lot Number: 256 (description taken from Sotheby's catalogue)
RARE NEEDLEWORK SAMPLER, ELIZABETH BROWN, PROBABLY MASSACHUSETTS, DATED 1834
Worked in twisted silk threads and crinkled silk floss on linen in split, tent, chain, queen, satin and
cross-stitches. Inscribed: Adieu my native Land adieu Elizabeth Brown's Work 1834. 17 3/4 by 21 inches.
(30 threads to the inch).
Sothby's estimate: $12,500 - $18,750 (with 25% buyer's premium added)
$6,500 (SPECIAL SALES PRICE - no buyers
(To purchase call 860-388-6809)
Although Elizabeth Brown's schoolmistress remains anonymous, this sampler reveals a wealth of information about
her. This talented teacher's venturesome design is delightfully colorful. The embroidery is framed by a bold, geometric
border worked in vines, leafy stems, and large, open-faced flowers. Visually dramatic, this strong design element,
probably indicative of her teaching approach, establishes the format. It presents a natural setting for the wedge-shaped
platform at the center of the bottom that embraces a decorative basket of oversized roses. This schoolmistress
imaginatively inserted trees to fill the panels at each side, one a tree of ripening apples, the other delicately
entwined with a vine of faded yellow silk grapes. Strawberry buds and sprightly birds embellish the border across
the bottom. Elizabeth's verse is enclosed within a dainty cartouche of flowered sprigs. To either side, handled
urns – resembling blue-and-white patterned porcelain – have been embroidered. The stitches have been most skillfully
executed. As Elizabeth Brown's sampler is reminiscent of a group of large, floral-bordered samplers worked in northeastern
Massachusetts near Newburyport, she may have attended an unidentified school for girls in that vicinity.
Purchased February, 1990
Exhibited and Literature: LACMA, pp. 70-71, fig. 26
STEPHEN & CAROL HUBER
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