A rare New Castle County Delaware sampler will be offered in the booth of John Tompkins of Richmond, Virginia at the 60th Annual All Saints’ Antiques Show next week. The sampler was worked by Priscilla Talley of Talleysville, in 1839, when she was fifteen years old. A sampler is a piece of embroidery produced as a demonstration or test of skill in needlework.
“The quality of the composition and colors belies the fact that it was made by a young girl,” says Tompkins. “It has the folky qualities of something made by a much more mature craftsman.”
Tompkins explains that the pot of flowers with hearts, the strawberry border, twin squirrels roosters, are all motifs encountered in Delaware Valley objects of this period, but rarely in such lush abundance.
The sampler was discovered in Richmond, still in the home of a direct descendant.
“It was kind of an Antiques Road Show moment,” he says. “The owner brought me in to see some pretty average furniture, and here was this amazing object hanging on the living room wall.”
The verse Priscilla stitched seems appropriate for a minister’s daughter, although other young women wrought similar verses to:
“This work in hand my friends my have
when I am dead and in my grave
and when the work each time you see
I with my Saviour hope to be
The work I leave to those I love
when I have flown to world above
When all my sorrow will be ore
When friends will need to part no more”
“There are a great many samplers out there for sale,” says Tompkins, “but it is rare to find one with such lush composition and color, and with a great history as well. There are many Pennsylvania samplers, but Delaware examples are rarely on the market.”
Additional information is available on the web at www.rehobothantiques.com