Christianna Anne Stiner,

Christianna Anne Stiner,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1828

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sampler size: 16¼” x 17” • framed size: 21½” x 22¼” • price: $8600

The early decades of the 19th century saw a flowering of wonderful, pictorial samplers that were made by schoolgirls under the tutelage of the many instructresses setting up schools in Philadelphia, a city with a bustling populace. Immigrants from Europe continued to arrive and the population of modern-day Philadelphia increased from approximately 87,300 in 1810 to 130,000 in 1830.

Worked in 1828 by eleven-year-old Christianna Anne Stiner, this excellent sampler features a handsome double-chimney Federal house shown in three-quarter view that dominates the scene, with a stylized willow tree on the left. Other trees, a gated fence and several birds provide further interest. The band above features a pair of fruit baskets flanking a classic Quaker motif, the facing birds with a leafy branch arching over them. The verse that Christianna stitched is one of the most appealing of the many different ones that were employed by samplermakers in the period. It addresses the young “maid whom circling years improve,” focusing on the “useful hours successive as they glide / the book the needle and the pen divide,” and her parents whose fond tears “stand sparking in their eyes.” The sampler is surrounded on four sides with a border of leaves and simple flowers, and nicely anchored in the four corners with sprightly little plants.

Christianna Anne was christened May 11, 1817 in Philadelphia, the daughter of German immigrants, George and Carolina (Weissen) Stiner. They had been married in 1814 at St Michael’s and Zion Church, which served the German speaking and worshiping community. In 1837, Christianna married Alexander Creth, a tailor, who was born in Ireland and the family lived in the Moyamensing section of south Philadelphia.  Alexander and Christianna had six children who were born between 1837 and 1854; Alexander died in 1854.  Christianna is listed in the 1860 census as a “gentlewoman” living with her children. She died in January 1871 and is buried next to her husband in the Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia. Christianna’s youngest daughter, Mary Stephens Creth inherited the sampler and it descended in the family for five generations, until just recently.

The sampler was worked in silk on linen and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted into a fine mahogany period frame. 

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