In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the making of samplers gave girls and young women the opportunity to practice a variety of embroidery stitches and to reinforce rudimentary lessons in spelling and penmanship.
This colorful, finely worked example by sixteen-year-old Apphia Amanda Young is typical of the samplers made in the vicinity of Canterbury, New Hampshire, from 1786 until at least 1838, the date of this work, which is the latest dated Canterbury example known. It exhibits many of the hallmarks of this regional style, most notably the central urn or basket of flowers in the lower border, flanked by blossom-sprouting hillocks, songbirds, and evergreens at each corner.
Remarkably, an 1833 sampler by the same maker has also survived and is a promised gift to the museum from local collector Joanne Foulk. Having the two samplers together will demonstrate how much a young woman’s needlework skills progressed over the course of five years.