Alphabet Sampler by Henrietta Couturier
Origin: America, South Carolina, Charleston
Sampler: OH: 9 3/8” x OW: 7 3/8”
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. 2014-44
This is a small rectangular sampler worked in shades of blue, yellow, cream, and green silk embroidery threads on a linen ground. The outermost border is pale blue drawn work, followed inside by two rows of eyelets worked in cream. A yellow chevron border follows that, and the innermost border is a wave pattern in pale blue.
From the top the sampler consists of:
"A-L" upper case block; each letter a different color (yellow, cream, green, light yellow, light blue) in a repeating pattern."1"
"M-V U" upper case block; each letter a different color (yellow, cream, green, light yellow, light blue) in a repeating pattern. "2"
"W-Z" upper case block; "&"; "aa b c dd" lower case block; "3"
"e-j kk l-pp q" lower case block; "4"
"q r ss tt v uu w-z" lower case block; "5"
Band of cross stitch.
The bottom portion of the sampler consists of the inscription in dark blue, “Youth well instruct/ted is to virtue/Trained/Years move on as/Runnig streams” with a wave pattern filling the space left at the end of each line. The inscription is followed by a band of green cross stitch, separating it from the signature, “Henrietta Couturier/April 10 1805.”
Stitches: cross, drawn, eyelet, hem, and 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 this smaller practice sampler in April, Henrietta went on to stitch a 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
Inscription(s):“Youth well instruct/ted is to virtue/Trained/Years move on as/Runnig streams”