Family Record Sampler by Henrietta Couturier
Origin: America, South Carolina, Charleston
OH: 23 ½”, OW: 21 ¼”; Sampler: OH: 19 ¼”, OW: 16 ¾”
Silk embroidery threads on a linen ground of 36 x 36 threads per inch (identification of fibers by eye)
Museum Purchase, Amy Finkel and The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2014-43
This is a rectangular family record sampler worked in brown, green, purple, cream, and yellow silk embroidery threads. The outer border consists of cross-stitched diamonds outlined in purple and filled with cream. A wider border of a meandering green vine is inside that. An inner border consists of a wavy outline.
The family record sampler consists of a list of the maker’s siblings and their birth years, cross stitched in brown. It reads, “Names and Ages of the Children of/Philip and Eleanor Couturier Viz/Philip Henry Couturier was born December/the fifth One thousand seven Hundred/and eighty two./Isaac was born July the twentieth One thousand seven Hundred and eighty five/Eleanor Mary was born August the/twentieth One thousand seven Hundred/and eighty seven/Gideon and Philip Twins were born/September the fourteenth One thousand/seven Hundred and eighty nine/Henrietta was born April the second One/thousand seven Hundred and ninety two/Anna Rebeckah was born November the/nineteenth One thousand seven hundred/and ninety four/Philip Henry was born May the thirteenth/One thousand seven Hundred and ninety six/Lydia Catharine was born December the/ thirteenth One thousand seven Hundred/and ninety seven.” It is followed by a band of green vines and cream-colored clover-like flowers.
Below that is the inscription, “And what is friendship by a Name/A charm that lulls to sleep/A shade that follows wealth and fame/But leaves the wretch to weep” followed by a row of diamonds in brown, light yellow, and cream.
The bottom of the sampler is signed, “Henrietta Couturier wrought this August/the 14th 1805.”
Stitches: cross, double cross, eyelet, hem, queen
Label:This sampler is one of two worked by Henrietta Couturier (1792-1817) of St. John’s Berkeley Parish, South Carolina, just four months apart in 1805. After completing a smaller practice sampler in April, Henrietta went on to stitch this more complicated and detailed family record sampler listing the birthdates of the nine children of her parents, Philip and Eleanor Couturier, two of whom were twins. Early South Carolina samplers are relatively rare when compared to the northern port cities of Philadelphia, Newport, and Boston. Equally rare are two extant samplers worked by the same schoolgirl. Henrietta’s expertise with the needle improved and her repertoire of stitches increased between the time she began her simple alphabet sampler and completed her family register.
Provenance:Columbia, South Carolina private collection to
Charlton Hall Auctions, Sale 268, Lot #83 to
M. Finkel & Daughter