Essex County, Massachusetts was among the most densely inhabited areas within the American Colonies and, as a result, numerous private schools and academies for young women flourished there. According to Betty Ring in Girlhood Embroidery, Salem alone had four public Schools and three Houses, four private Schools, Women's schools for needle work, four well known in addition to the great number for reading only, or "common work."
This charming composition worked by Eliza Foster Woodberry in 1838 when she was "11 years and two months" old features a magnificent Urn of flowers flanked by two unusual trees. The Urn is seated on a wide checkered sawtooth border while a narrower; also two colored, sawtooth border provides the border for the other three sides. Eliza has worked three sets of alphabets and a numerical progression into the top half of the sampler. She then enclosed a verse in another border and flanked it on each side with cornucopias filled with flowers. The feeling here is one of opulence and abundance. The verse reads:
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Incline my heart to seek thy face
The saviours name to love
And form me by almighty grace
For nobler praise above
Eliza was the daughter of Richard Woodbury, Jr. (1798-1842) and Eliza Foster who were married on October 4, 1825 in Beverly, Massachusetts. Besides Eliza who was born on July 2, 1827 as she states on her sampler, there was also a son born to them on March 3. 1834 named Richard Augustus Woodbury. Unfortunately, not much else can be known of her life as she died on July 10, 1843 of consumption when she was just sixteen years of age.
The colors on the sampler are very pleasing . . . Several shades of green were used, from olive, to teal, to seafoam green while pale gold, ivory, and apricot colored flowers fill the Urn and Cornucopias to overflowing. Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition and conservation mounted into a beveled mahogany frame that appears to be original to the piece and protected with Tru Vue glass to preserve it for future generations.
Size is 11" wide and 17 1/2" high.
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