Elizabeth Larkens Sampler
13" x 16". 18 1/2" x 22 " including the original frame. Elizabeth's sampler is simply wonderful! The two black faced men at the bottom appear to be dressed in jester-like costumes.
I suspect that these are meant to be characters from some type of English music hall performance. English samplers are often filled with the wonders of what was going on in the world around
the young girls who stitched them. In any case they are amazingly rare and very, very special. And the figures are not the only special thing about this sampler. It is filled with lovely
florals, trees, birds, dogs, and many other beautiful motifs. There are alphabets, and a verse all surrounded with an elegant honeysuckle vine border. Elizabeth's sampler is quite beautiful.
n.b. Thanks to London antique dealer Erna Hiscock, I can now explain the significance of the two black face figures. Erna
writes, "Your sampler represents Harlequin, the partner of Columbine. He is often portrayed with a black mask. Harlequin was supposedly born in Bergamo and was a servant of one of the main char-
acters named Pantaloon. He was the lover or husband to Columbine, a maid in the same household. He spent most of his time in romantic dalliance, plotting mischief, hence the mask. The story is based
on a 16th century Italian comedy. By the 18th century it had degenerated into light musical entertain-
ment and was being performed in London. These figures first appeared on samplers in the 1770s". Thank you, Erna & John. If you know the right person to ask, finding the answer is easy!
The verse reads:
" During the time of life allotted me
Grant me good God my wealth and liberty
I ask no more if thou art Please to give
I will with thanks the over plus Received".
She signed her sampler, " wrought by Elizabeth Larkens in
the 16 year of her age 1821".
There is some damage to the fabric in the bottom left corner, as well as small holes in the upper left and bottom right
corners. And there are four very small holes in the alphabet area. But, the sampler has been stitched to another piece of linen, so it is well stablized. There are no thread losses and
the silks are still vibrant and they retain their sheen, so it is still
in good condition.