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Sampler by Sally Jennings

1797
Origin: America, Mid-Atlantic, possibly New York
Framed: OW: 19 3/4" x OH: 20 1/4"
Silk embroidery threads on a linen ground of 34 x 28 threads per inch (fiber identification by eye), glass, wood
Gift of Marvin (Joe) and Nancy Stone
Acc. No. 2009-8
This is a framed, almost square sampler consisting of pink, green, white, brown, blue, yellow, and black silk threads on a natural linen ground. The sampler is bordered on all four sides by a vine and strawberry border and an interior sawtooth border. At the top of the sampler is a verse that reads, "The Happiest Man that ever Breath'd on Earth/With all the Glories of Estate and Birth/Had yet some anxious Care to make him know/No Grandeur was above the reach of Woe/To be from all Things that disquiet free/Is not consistent with Humanity." Every word is stitched in a different color. This inscription is flanked by one large tree and one small tree on each side. In bare spaces, on the right side, are two crowns, a diamond, and a heart. Below this is a band consisting of a yellow vine with potted flowers.

Below this is another inscription which reads, "All you my Friends Who now Expect to see/A Piece of marking thus/Perform'd by me/Cast but A Smile on this my mean Endeavour/Ill Strive to mend and be Obedient ever." Like the inscription above, every word is stitched in a different color. This verse is flanked by two pink flowers in urns. Below this is a white sawtooth band, which is broken up in the middle by the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve, who are both nude, flank this tree. A blue and white snake wraps itself around the tree, and Eve reaches toward it. There are birds on top of and around the tree. On either side of the tree are the words, "Desire to Know/Hath wrought our woe/By Tasteing [sic] this/The exile of Bliss." Below this verse are two smaller trees that frame the tree of knowledge. There are more birds, as well as a small stag. Eve stands next to a ram and Adam stands next to a bird and dog. Next to these smaller trees is an inscription which reads, "This done/in 17/87 by/Sally Jennings/Born 1/March The/1797." These words are jumbled, but presumably are meant to read, "This done in 1797 by Sally Jennings Born March The First 1787."

Stitches: cross, double cross, French knots, outline, satin, straight
Label:Sally Jennings stitched on her sampler, "This done/in 17/87 by/Sally Jennings/Born 1/March The/1797." These words are jumbled, but presumably are meant to read, "This done in 1797 by Sally Jennings Born March The First 1787." Sally's rendering of Adam and Eve is similar to Adam and Eve figures stitched on samplers in New York City in the second half of the eighteenth century, suggesting that Sally, too, stitched her sampler in New York.
Provenance:Gift of Marvin (Joe) and Nancy Stone. According to the previous owner, the sampler may have come from her husband's family. He grew up in New Jersey but he and his wife lived in New York City during their married life.
Inscription(s):"The Happiest Man that ever Breath'd on Earth/With all the Glories of Estate and Birth/Had yet some anxious Care to make him know/No Grandeur was above the reach of Woe/To be from all Things that disquiet free/Is not consistent with Humanity"

"All you my Friends Who now Expect to see/A Piece of marking thus/Perform'd by me/Cast but A Smile on this my mean Endeavour/Ill Strive to mend and be Obedient ever"

"Desire to Know/Hath wrought our woe/By Tasteing [sic] this/The exile of Bliss"