Rare Delaware Sampler Coming to Rehoboth Antiques Show

John Tompkins is bring this Delaware Sampler to the All Saints' Show
John Tompkins is bring this Delaware Sampler to the All Saints' Show

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

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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