Catherine Elizabeth Gray,

Catherine Elizabeth Gray,

Charles County, Maryland, circa 1835

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sampler size: 21” x 17½” • framed size: 25½” x 22” • price: $6500 $4875

This splendid, large sampler is a wonderful indication of the artistic inclinations and, of course, the technical skills of its maker, who signed her work, “C E Gray” in the center cartouche. She was Catherine Elizabeth Gray of Charles County, Maryland and much is known about the family, a prominent one in this area in south central part of the state. A large Federal house on a lawn is featured prominently, but the placement of it is somewhat unusual and the many potted flowers, growing fruit plants, baskets of further flowers and fruit and Quaker medallions, two containing paired birds, fill the space admirably.

Born on September 14, 1814 at Chinquepin, near Grayton in Charles County, Catherine was the daughter of Capt. Alexander gray (1788-1839) and Elizabeth Price Gray (1793-1857), one of their seven children. The family lived on 540 acres, part of an original land grant entitled “Friendship” on Nanjemoy Creek.

In 1831, Catherine worked a marking sampler and then, circa 1835, this highly developed, house and motif sampler. The marking sampler is in the collection of the Charles County Historical Society, donated in 2010 by a descendant. A full article about Catherine Elizabeth Gray and her marking sampler is published in the Historical Society’s October 2010 newsletter, The Record, on pages 6-8. A photograph of Catherine as an older lady is included in the article.

On December 31, 1839, Catherine married William Dunnington Cobey (1810-1847) as his second wife. She inherited 93 acres from her father after his death, and within a few years she and her husband bought further acreage from one of her brothers. They couple had five children and William died in 1847. Catherine remained in the area and lived with her children. She died in 1897 and is buried at Christ Church Durham Parish Cemetery in Ironsides, Charles County.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in very good condition with some slight running of the dye in the side borders. It has been conservation mounted and is in a beveled cherry frame with a figured maple outer bead. 

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