Ann Smith 1767
Origin and date: England, 1767
Linen count and finished size: 35 count, 16-1/2″x15-1/2″
Stitches: Cross, tent, Algerian eye, stem
Source: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England
Perfect symmetry, brilliant color, and fine stitching make up this exquisite lesson by Ann Smith. Begun in 1766 and finished in 1767, it was originally stitched on fine tammy (wool) with silk flosses. It is unusual to find both a beginning and an ending date on a sampler (something perhaps some of us would rather not be reminded of!). As in all folk art, the specific subject was merely a point of departure, and the finished work represents more her child’s visualization of this Bible story than an attempt to recreate nature. As such, the mythical subjects are rather doughy and doll-like, surrounded by their lush garden. We see more evidence of an idealized landscape – an earthly paradise – than in the German Sampler, which could be attributed to differing religious attitudes.