United Kingdom, 1823
A very unusual and appealing sampler, this features a lengthy text entitled “Address to Liberty” and an exceptional scene of a compound of a very large public building and its appendages. A weathervane sits on top of the building’s central tower, with huge butterflies on either side. A rich green lawn with little animals and pathways indicating perspective completes this handsome scene. The lower register of many sampler motifs, including an engaging pair of deer flanked by stylized Scottish trees, provides further embellishment.
The sampler is signed, “Jannet Marquis, her work April 16, 1823,” along with the initials, HA LA IR MM. There are characteristics that point to a possible Scottish origin and we hope that further research will tell us more.
The text is sourced from a poem by Joseph Addington (1672-1719) and reads as follows:
Address to Liberty
Oh Liberty! Thou goddess heavenly bright profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight, eternal pleasures in thy presence reign - and smiling plenty leads thy wanton trash eased of her load - subjection grows more light and poverty looks cheerful in thy sight - thou makes t the gloomy face of nature gay - givest beauty to the sun - and pleasure to the day - on foreign mountains may the sun refine - the grapes soft juice, and mellow it to wine, with citron groves adorn a distant soil, and the fat olive swell with floods of oil. We envy not the warmer clime that lies, in ten degrees of more indulgent skies, nor at the coarseness of our heaven repine. Tho’o’er our heads the frozen pleiades shine ‘tis liberty that crown’s Britannia’s isle, and makes her - barren rocks and her bleak mountains smile.
Another similar sampler is known; that one is dated 1827 and the verse is the same however there is no scene of the buildings and lawn.
Worked in silk on wool, the sampler is in very good condition with many very minor areas of loss to the wool. These have been stabilized and the sampler has been conservation mounted. The frame is maple with a gilt liner.