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Boston Band Sampler - Sarah Leach, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, 1764

According to Betty Ring in Girlhood Embroidery, Volume I, p. 36, "Boston's first important group of samplers emerged in the 1720's. Unlike the stylized band patterns with the newly fashionable borders that characterized Newport and Philadelphia Samplers of this time, Boston work retained the form and techniques of the 17th century."   What she is referring to here are the Adam and Eve Samplers and other closely related pieces of which this is one.

It is important to recognize that the band patterns used in this body of work more closely resemble those found on mid-17th century English Band Samplers although the shape of the sampler has now become more square rather than long and narrow as were their 17th century counterparts. The Hexagonal Band pattern, which Ms. Ring says "appears to be exclusive to the Boston region" appears in 1731 on a Band Sampler worked by Lydia Hart and is first known to be coupled with Adam and Eve in the 1734 work of Ann Peartree, fig. 36 in Girlhood Embroidery. While not found on all Adam and Eve Samplers, the first four band patterns occur in the same order on at least five other examples dating from 1741 - 1749 which would indicate they were the product of the same instructor's teaching. (See Fig. 38 in Girlhood Embroidery by Betty Ring.)

While the identity of the Boston schoolmistress who taught this particular style of sampler is not known, it is thought she taught between 1724 and 1744, and there is little doubt that the patterns she favored were carefully copied by others and also used for years after she was no longer teaching. It is widely thought by textile scholars who have tried to solve this mystery that Susanna Hiller Condy was the teacher responsible for the development of this important body of work. (See Girlhood Embroideries, Volume I, p.36 for a discussion of Boston Embroideries in the Eighteenth Century as it pertains to this.) Also, as the century passed the mid-mark and Adam and Eve disappeared as a popular motif and other motifs replaced them, the continuing use of the Boston Hexagonal Band, (also known as the Wine Glass Band or Hour Glass Band), the Trefoil Band, the Strawberry Band, the Floral Band, and the Maple Leaf motif carry on the tradition of this important body of work.
Sarah Leach wrought her Boston Band Sampler in the 10th year of her age in 1764 as she tells us on her sampler. She also included the following verse, from a portion of  hymn #44 by Isaac Watts, the title of which is "The true improvement of life".  It,in turn, is based upon  Psalm 90 verse 12.

On Earth Let My Example Shine
And When I Leave This State
May Heaven Receive This Soul Of Mine
To Blis (sp) Divinely Great

Born on August 31, 1755 in Gloucester, Massachusetts to Elijah Leach and his wife Eunice Herrick, Sarah was the first of six children born to the couple. Gloucester Church Records show Sarah died due to fever in April 1776 and it is rather doubtful she married. There is no record of this because her life was cut short due to her early death at only 21 years of age. We have but her sampler to remember her by and it is a fabulous Boston Pre-Revolutionary example. Her Bands are very skillfully worked, the colors still remain bright and clear, and the condition of the sampler is excellent. Absolutely no apologies here! (A sampler displaying the identical border as well as the same Bands appears on page 23 of the recently published book Samplers, How to Compare and Value, by Stephen and Carol Huber.

This sampler, worked in silk on linen has been conservation mounted into a figured mahogany frame and protected with Tru-Vue glass for future generations.
Size is 16-1/2" x 18" (sight).

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