Baltimore Building Sampler by Margery Jane McGuire
Origin: America, Maryland, Baltimore
Overall: 25 x 25in. (63.5 x 63.5cm)
Wool and silk embroidery threads on a cotton ground of 25 threads per inch (fibers identified by microscope)
Acc. No. 2012-65
This is a large, square sampler worked in shades of red, green pink, brown, black, yellow, and ivory wool and cotton embroidery threads on a cotton ground of 25 threads per inch. Woven into the ground cotton every ten threads is a blue cotton warp thread. The sampler depicts a large four story red brick building with cupola; green lawn full of scattered motifs including basket of fruit, 2 vases of flowers, bird, pump, figure of a small black dog, and flowers; a red brick wall with black gate; and a walkway to front door of building. Stitched above the gate in black silk embroidery threads is the inscription: "Maryland Hospital." Flanking the cupola are floral wreaths with the inscriptions: "Ann" and "McGuire." At bottom of sampler is the signature line in black silk embroidery threads: "Margery Jane McGuire Aged 10." An undulating border consisting of a green vine with pink and red flowers is at top and sides of sampler.
Stitches: cross over one and two threads and herringbone
Label:Margery Jane McGuire's ca. 1842 sampler is the latest of an important group of Baltimore Building Samplers that depict the Baltimore Hospital and a twin-towered building. These large samplers were worked between 1822 and 1842 and reflect the fashion in Baltimore for including important buildings on the decorative arts that were produced there. Named "The City of Monuments" by John Quincy Adams after his visit to Baltimore in 1827, furniture and quilts made in the city also depict noteworthy buildings and monuments. Built in the 1790s to originally take care of yellow fever victims, the Baltimore Hospital was of great interest to visitors and townspeople alike.
It's probable that our samplermaker, Margery Jane McGuire, was the "Magarry McGuire" listed in the 1850 Baltimore Census as age 18 and living with her mother, Ann, and younger brother in the western part of Fells Point. Note that Margery included the name of her mother in the floral wreaths flanking the hospital cupola. Fells Point was an area that suffered greatly from the yellow fever epidemic. Interestingly, four of the five embroiderers who worked the Baltimore Hospital samplers were from Fells Point.
Provenance:The sampler sold at C. G. Sloan's Auction on June 5, 1983 to Betty Ring.
Purchased by M. Finkel & Daughter at Sotheby's January 22, 2012 sale: Important American Schoolgirl Embroideries: The Landmark Collection of Betty Ring.
History of Samplermaker:
It's probable that our samplermaker, Margery Jane McGuire, was the"Magarry McGuire" listed in the 1850 Baltimore Census as age 18 and living with her mother, Ann, and younger brother in the household of Peter Goshell, a sea captain in the Second Ward in the western part of Fells Point. Her mother, Ann, may be the Mrs. McGuire listed in MATCHETT'S BALTIMORE DIRECTOR, 1842 as a milliner.
Mark(s):See inscriptions and signature.
Inscription(s):"Ann" and “McGuire" in floral wreaths flanking cupola of hospital building
"Maryland Hospital" above gate
"Margery Jane McGuire Aged 10" at bottom of sampler