Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Sampler with apocalyptic verse

Ann McFarlan (1817–1835)
Made in Johnstown, New York, United States
Linen embroidery on linen
18 x 19 1/2 in. (45.7 x 49.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. Burton P. Fabricand Gift, 1998
Accession Number:
Not on view
This delightfully original sampler, with borders illustrating buildings and trees, reveals the visual influences and religious concerns of the part of New York State where McFarlan grew up in the 1820s. The sampler's composition and simple blue-and-white palette resemble the popular woven coverlets made by New York State weavers between 1820 and 1850. Typically, the coverlets were made of indigo-dyed dark blue wool and natural cotton and often had borders decoarted with repeating patterns of village houses. But the buildings pictured on this sampler have a meaning beyond a young girl's imitation of the designs found on a common bed covering. The Bible verse stitched in the lower left-hand corner speaks of the time after Judgment Day when redeemed souls will rise from the dead and "soar to the blest mansions." Perhaps the houses and church embroidered here are those heavenly abodes. Upstate New York was a center for religious revivalism in the first half of the nineteenth century; the imminent approach of the millennium was one of the beliefs central to many of the evangelical Christian groups that settled there. McFarlan both practiced her stitching and voiced her religious convictions in this unusual sampler.
Inscription: in center: 9 alphabets and 2 sets of 1-10; at bottom left: And when the last loud trumpet/ Shall rend the vaulted skies/ And bid the entomb'd millions/ From their cold beds arise/ Our ransomed dust revived/ Bright beauties shall put on/ And soar to the blest mansions/ Where our redeemers come; cont. [?] above at right: how are thy servents [sic]/ blest o lord; bottom right: wrought by/ Ann McFarlan/ In the 9 year of her age/ Rachel Gorton Teac/ her 1827"
McFarlan Family, Johnstown, New York; Sale, Northeast Auction, Manchester, New Hampshire, August 2,1998; with Carol and Stephen Huber.
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