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Mecutchin, Sarah
Sampler Sampler
1836 1836

Samplers, containing an embroidered alphabet, number sequence, and/or verse, formed part of a girls practical and moral instruction either within a home or at school. In embroidering silk thread onto linen or wool, she could improve her sewing skills, letters, numbers and godliness, all at once. Fine needlework was not only a necessary domestic art but also a valued attribute of femininity; samplers thus aligned with other acceptable feminine art practices such as music and watercolour painting, and like these were intended for display.

Yet within these set structures, there is incredible range of craftsmanship and creativity in the choice, placement and modification of pattern elements, as well as deviations and personal additions. The sampler is a fascinating balance of humility and modesty on the one hand, and pride in one’s ability and originality on the other. Intended to endure as a record, samplers almost always include the maker’s name and age, and often where she lived.

This sampler shows remarkable skill from eight year old Sarah Mecutchin of Kingston. Framed by a thick rose pattern, a short verse bordered by a strawberry motif, four little animal designs and a large floral spray in the centre, this sampler is an excellent example of the bolder designs and more colourful palette typical of the 1820s and 1830s. The verse is taken from a hymn written by Charles Wesley (1707 1788), who was a British Methodist hymn writer. Throughout the eighteenth and particularly in the nineteenth century, samplers were used as tools to teach and reiterate moral values in the minds of young girls.

 
Mecutchin, Sarah
Sampler Sampler
1836 1836
44.4 x 43.2 cm
Gift of Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell and John D. Blackwell; from the collection of Dr. Ruth Hill Stanley (1922-2017), 2020 Gift of Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell and John D. Blackwell; from the collection of Dr. Ruth Hill Stanley (1922-2017), 2020
63-003.03

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