1817 Rhode Island Sampler
This is a sampler that's been in my family since 1817. Parthenia Wilcox West is my great-great-great-grandmother, and she was an illegitimate child. This was passed down through my great-grandparents to my great-grandmother, and then at that time when she passed away, my dad was in Rhode Island, where Parthenia was, and so it came to him, and he has given it to me.
And we can see over here "Parthenia Wilcox West."
She was born in 1797, and it says that she did this sampler in 1817.
It is a Rhode Island sampler, and one of the reasons that it's different than the typical Rhode Island samplers that we see is because if you do the math, she was 20 years old. She's already out of school. She's not being influenced by the formulaic Rhode Island school designs that the schoolgirls had to comply with, and she's free to do her own artwork. And it's done on a brown linen ground, and that's also not typical. It's usually white. We have things like this wonderful federal eagle with a shield. The bowls of flowers are really extraordinary. They're so beautiful, they're so delicate. When we go down the side, we can see these beautiful birds. Once again, these bowls of flowers. And a young woman, possibly her, possibly it's her own self-image. And it's so refreshing on these samplers to see the black thread in such wonderful condition. And the dyes that they used to dye the silk black were very corrosive, so usually on these very early samplers, the black thread is the first thing to disintegrate.
Yeah, so the fact that they're totally intact says that this had a very peaceful life. Do you think it was stored somewhere?
I have no idea until it got to my father. We saw several samplers on the ROADSHOW, and one day, he said, "Oh, I have some of that in the basement." So I know it was not exposed to light. We then started to be aware of what it meant to have a sampler like this, had it restored at University of Rhode Island, and then it did get displayed for a while, but it has not been out that many years.
This would be very desirable to a sampler collector, and I think a very fair retail value in today's market would be $35,000 to $45,000.
Oh, my God. That's unbelievable. Well, thank you so much, and I know my dad thanks you too.
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