Artist:Elizabeth F. Bowne
Dimensions: 10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm)
Museum Location: Formerly 5G31, Unit 1000, 12D
Accession Number: 52.93.28
Catalogue Description: The Brooklyn Museum began acquiring samplers in 1916 and there are now 205 in the collection. In times before printed pattern books, samplers were a short-hand way for sewers to record different stitches that they observed for future inclusion in their own original work. Brooklyn’s American samplers date from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, although there are European ones from the seventeenth century. The sampler selected here is not the most accomplished or beautiful one in the collection, but is of special local interest because it tells us it was made in Flushing, Queens, New York. Unless the place a sampler was made is stitched onto it, localizing samplers is very difficult. By the late seventeenth century, the making of samplers had moved into schools and became part of the curriculum to educate young women. These didactic exercises often included naturalistic landscape elements, alphabets, simple narratives, and quotations meant to instill piety and moral rectitude in the young sewers.