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Stephen & Carol Huber: 17th - 19th Century Needlework

Antique samplers from Huber

Lot Number: 278-1 (description taken from Sotheby's catalogue)

Fanny Drowne (b. 1796), probably Rhode Island, dated 1797, worked with silk threads on linen in eyelet and cross-stitches. Inscribed: Fanny Drowne work this/sampler in the year of our/Lord 1797 aged 12 Labour for Learing before/thou art old/For Learing is better then/Silver and gold/For silver and gold will vanish/away/but Learing is a jewel that will never decay. 24 1/2 by 7 3/4 inches. (14 threads to the inch)

Sothby's estimate: $8,750 - $11,500 (with 25% buyer's premium added) was for lots 278-(1, 2, 3) together. Lot 278-3 was sold by Sotheby's after the sale.

Sold (SPECIAL SALES PRICE - no buyers premium)
(for sampler 278-2 only, pictured above)

(To purchase call 860-388-6809)

Catalogue Note:
This sampler worked by Fanny Drowne is reminiscent of a style prevalent in North America during the colonial period. Simple in design, the long, thin embroidery has been edged with a border so unobtrusive as to be unnoticeable. Fanny Drowne's schoolmistress may have been a recent arrival from England, for this sampler follows a traditional English pattern. The 1790s were a time of great experimentation in classrooms of post-Revolutionary America, particularly New England. Samplers appeared with wide flowery borders, fancy vases filled with colorful, exotic blossoms, and stylish figures parading across yards of embroidered linen. Yet this teacher appeared to have remained unaffected, steeped in the seventeenth century and aloof to the whims of fashion. Thus, the young Fanny was obliged to stitch her long, narrow embroidery in a manner that was distinctly unfashionable and definitely out-of-step. Although she has not yet been identified in any records, Fanny Drowne probably lived in Bristol County, Rhode Island, where several "Drown" families are recorded.1

1. Federal Census, Rhode Island, 1800. Girls around Fannys age have been found in the families of Benjamin, Daniel, and Jonathan Drown.

Exhibited and Literature: LACMA, Fanny Drowne, p. 49, fig. 12

Fanny Drowne- Adams House Antiques, Tuscon Arizona, October, 1986

(860) 388-6809


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