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Newport, Rhode Island Needlework Sampler

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American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2482
Date / Time :
November 08, 2009 11:00AM


Newport, Rhode Island Needlework Sampler, Rebeca Willbor, Newport, Rhode Island, 1773, worked in silk threads on a linen ground, centered with figures, a house, flowers and animals, flanked by horizontal bands of flowers, fruit, and animals, alphabets, pious verses, and a cartouche at the bottom stitched "Rebeca/Willbor born/jenauary 13/& made thiS in/November 5/in NewPort/RhodiSland/1773", enclosed on three sides with urns issuing a naturalistic flowering border centered at the top with a large bird, (toning, faint dye run), 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 in., in the original molded wood frame.

Literature: See The Magazine Antiques, "Mary Balch's Newport Sampler" by Betty Ring , September 1983, pp. 500-507. This sampler is similar in style to a group of samplers stitched in the last half of the 18th century by girls in the Newport, Rhode Island, area, including one worked by eleven year old Mary Balch, who went on to instruct girls in needlework in Providence, Rhode Island. Ring writes on p. 500 "The style was fully developed by 1767...distinguished by a composition of horizontal bands containing pictorial motifs and inscriptions, with wide floral borders along the sides and a cartouche at the bottom containing the needleworker's name, birthdate, and the date of the sampler. There is generally at least one bird in the top border, or playful people with animals, and one of the horizontal bands, usually second from the top, contains naturalistic strawberries. The pictorial motifs almost invariably include richly dressed figures with friendly pets, oversize birds and insects...and a building often worked in blue." The sampler offered here is illustrated on p. 507, the lot includes the magazine and a conservation report.
Estimate $7,000-9,000

The textile was cleaned and conserved with archival mount in 2001.


Rhode Island, Rebeca Willbor, Mary Balch, Betty Ring, needleworker, Embroidery, Sampler