Early Sampler dated 1803 Elizabeth Pumfrett Beautiful
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I was fortunate enough to acquire over fifteen exciting samplers that I will be listing over time. This particular English sampler is quite stunning and has a lot going on! It is signed and dated by the maker and lends a naïve look relating to the letters as Elizabeth seemed to encounter a dilemma as far as running out of room so she improvised and added the last letter just above the word. The letter “e” was omitted from the word “the” as shown in the first line but struggle as she may this piece is complete and the intricate detail surely tested her patience!
Several of the letters in the alphabet rows are done in triplicate and excite us with various colored silk thread used worked on a linen ground. Elizabeth also decided to honor us with a poem entitled "The Desire", from Thomas Dilworth's schoolbook, “A New Guide to the English Tongue”, first published in 1740. It is hard to decipher this poem as spelling was done phonetically back then and sometimes letters were omitted altogether. The letter “s” actually looks like an “f” which was considered appropriate and began to evolve and form its own distinctive look by the1820’s.
The poem reads:
From my Beginning may the Almighty Power, Blessing bestow in never ceasing Showers, Oh mays I happy be, and always blest, Of ev’ry Joy, of every Wish possess’d, May Plenty dissipate all wordly Cares, And smiling Peace bless my revolving years.
Two folk art opposing dogs seem to draw attention to the title of the poem while double horizontal lines done in a soft buttercup yellow highlight the top and bottom areas. Strawberries, considered the perfect fruit as the seeds are located on the outside also symbolize love and rebirth. This fruit nestled amongst leaves connected by vines graces the side borders of the center field area. The bottom of this sampler gives us insight that this is Elizabeth’s first sampler as marked…(the second word at the bottom near the far right is “sampler”.
The date clearly appears in between her name and the little cross stitch design done in crimson thread makes for a showy statement. Two opposing stylized birds with a stern look seem to protect her name while the inner trees offer serenity and respite. A basket of flowers dot the center while more floral decorations reside below along with “cute as a button” doggies that sport a red expressive tail.
There are some areas with minimal thread loss such as the basket (see image 9 & 14), the yellow border as shown in image 6, the first letter “A” at the top along with the letter “G” that is missing the top curve. Some of the letters are missing in the middle of the fourth row. Whispers of light staining appear to take place directly in the middle of this piece but is not easily detected unless held up to a sunny window. There are no holes to report. Not bad factoring in the age of this exceptional piece.
The frame though not original is a perfect mate for the sampler as it does not overwhelm but rather suggests a quiet border so this hand wrought sampler can be a focal point. There are several areas of minimal paint loss and a couple minor chips on the frame consistent with age. The back has experienced some paper loss as shown along with ripped areas mostly limited to the borders edge. Small nails were used on the frame to keep the sampler in place.
The beautiful textile has a lot going on and would grace any wall lending colorful style wrought by a little girl who did her best. What a fantastic survivor that someone cherished and passed down though the years that is now available for immediate purchase so it can be displayed in your lovely home! Enjoy!
Sampler stands 20 3/4" tall, 14" across (right to left) and is 1/2" deep.
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