Polly Coleman (1794-1832)
Antique needlework sampler
Wethersfield, CT circa 1804
Silk thread on linen ground. Sight size: 19-1/2" W x 10" H. Framed size: 21" W x 15-1/2"
H. Reproduction burled wood frame with gold beaded liner.
Polly's sampler is a typical example from an important Wethersfield group made around 1804 featuring a floral swag
along the top and a landscape at bottom. A willow tree, a man and woman, a man on horseback, a fruit tree, a house,
a little girl and another tree sit on a narrow lawn. The verse is missing a few words, but is based on a published
poem by the Reverend Dr. Dwight in 1791: Look lovely maid on yonder flower, And see that busy fly. Made for the
enjoyment of an hour. And only born to die. Extensive research by Betty Ring and other needlework scholars pinpoint
the instructress as Abigail Goodrich, and she may have instructed Polly in her home or at the Wethersfield Academy
which was just built in 1804. Abigail Goodrich would alter go on to work alongside two of her former students at
the Academy, which now houses the Wethersfield Historical Society.
Polly's great-great-great-great-grandparents, Thomas and Sarah Coleman, emigrated from England about 1634 and were
among the first settlers of Wethersfield, Connecticut around 1636. The sampler maker was one of eleven children
of Thomas Coleman (1761-1813) and Salome Kilby (1765-1831) who married in 1782. Polly, a common nickname for Mary,
was born in 1794, a year after another daughter named Mary died at age five. The parents and both girls are buried
side by side in the Wethersfield Cemetery, with Polly having died unmarried on January 30, 1832 at age 38.
There is some staining and slight loss to ground in a few spots, and a few words from the verse are missing. The
sampler has been preservation framed.
Provenance: The Campanelli Collection. Extensive genealogical research accompanies the sampler.
STEPHEN & CAROL HUBER
View Other Samplers