Monday, February 23, 2009

Where is the TSS Web Site?

Our web site is currently undergoing massive renovation. When it returns, visitors will be able to visit an online gallery of all documented samplers, complete with high resolution photographs and technical details. A section will be devoted to education, with pages for sampler owners and teachers.

Until the web site returns, visitors will be redirected to our blog.

Below is a sneak peak of our new home page:

Our web designer, Justin Bird, has been working hard to process all the data we have accumulated.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

House Samplers of Middle Tennessee and Map

Top Left
1827 Susannah D. Smith
wool? on linen
Brentwood, Williamson Co.
dimensions unknown © TSS 115

Top Right
1831 Mildred A. F. Nelson
silk on 25 ct. linen
Rutherford Co.
15” V x 15” H © TSS 157

Bottom Left
c. 1835 Harriet Daniel Bryant
silk on 22 V/28 H ct. linen
Maury Co.?
17 ½” V x 17 ¼” H © TSS 210

Bottom Right
1836 Mary Elizabeth Collins
silk on 30 ct. linen
Franklin, Williamson Co.
16 ¾” V x 16 ¾” H © TSS 128

The 1831 Mildred A. F. Nelson sampler (TSS 157) belongs to a group of four related samplers ranging from 1827 to 1836. The four samplers 1) are all square, 2) feature houses, 3) share stitch techniques (eyelet, rice, and four-sided) 4) have the same oddly shaped trees, the same color palette, and the same alphabet. We have not yet examined the 1827 Susannah D. Smith sampler, but it appears to be worked in wool, unlike the other three, which are in silk. I am eager to document Susannah's needlework--is that really a cow grazing beside her house? Mildred included a meandering stream in her landscape. The fruit baskets on Harriet's and Mary's samplers were popular motifs in Middle Tennessee throughout the 19th c. Harriet and Mary both showed a preference for tulip borders.

We have not yet established the connection among these girls, other than their relative geographic proximity and the evidence found in the actual samplers.

View Larger Map

Photograph of the 1827 Susannah D. Smith sampler courtesy of Bob Canaday/Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1831 Mildred A. F. Nelson

1831 Mildred A. F. Nelson
silk on 25 ct. linen
Rutherford Co.
Sam Davis Home, Smyrna
15”V x 15”H © TSS 157

The curator at the Sam Davis Home in Smyrna has asked that the 1831 Mildred A. F. Nelson sampler be reproduced. The sampler was recently conserved by Norah Glickstein, who allowed me access to the reverse.

Robin Laukhuf of Olde Willow Stitchery will once again be custom dying the silks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Latest Tally

Since we began our survey in 2004, we have documented 210 samplers. The breakdown is as follows:

45 East Tennessee
102 Middle Tennessee
6 West Tennessee
4 Alabama
3 Kentucky
3 Maryland
2 Massachusetts
1 New Jersey
1 New York
1 North Carolina
9 Virginia
4 England
1 France or Belgium
1 Germany
1 Scotland
26 undetermined

Here's our latest find. This sampler has a little dog on it. He's to the lower left of the house.

c. 1844 Frances (Fannie) Ann Collins
Franklin Co. © TSS 218

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Little Dog Sampler Featured on Antiques Roadshow

1831 Sarah Harriet Stephenson (detail)
Maury Co. and Williamson Co.
16 1/4"V x 18"H © TSS 015

The PBS program Antiques Roadshow has featured a Tennessee sampler. The program, filmed in Dallas on June 28, 2008, aired last night, February 9, 2009. Ken Farmer was the appraiser.

The 1833 sampler by Nancy Jane Hughes is almost identical to the 1831 Sarah Harriet Stephenson sampler. A little dog stands guard beside a four chimnied, two-story house. A rectangular catouche encloses the maker's name and the date of completion. The initials "MC" (which probably stand for "Maury County") complete the text.

See the video and photographs at Antiques Roadshow's web site.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oldest Tennessee Sampler

1810 Wincy Piercy
Wilson Co.
Trousdale County Museum and Depot, Hartsville
11 3/4"V x 10 1/2"H © TSS 097

The oldest signed and dated sampler we have documented was worked in Wilson Co., in Middle Tennessee. This marking sampler with family names and a verse was stitched on uneven 36/40 count linen.

The complete inscription reads:

Wincy Piercy Sampler july 5 1810
Sherwood and Patsey Piercy Anderson
Louisiana Williamson + Eleanor Piercy

Sherwood and Patsey were Wincy's parents. Anderson, Louisiana, Williamson, and Eleanor were her siblings.

sense and good humour ever Prove
The surest cords to fasten love

Source for couplet: Moore, Edward (1712-1757). Lines 13-14 from Fable 9, “The Young Lion and the Ape.” Fables for the Female Sex, 3rd edition. London: R. Francklin, 1749, p. 68.