Nancy Lees

Noah’s Ark, England, circa 1820

sampler size: 16¼" x 20" • framed size: 18¼" x 22" • sold

The depiction of Noah’s Ark on samplers has always seemed to us as if it should have been an obvious choice and that many samplermakers would have opted to use this subject, however this isn’t the case. In fact, this is the only Noah’s Ark sampler that we have known of in our 40 years of working with antique samplers!

The long, low Ark with its parade of wonderful, fanciful animals below, and others throughout, and the unusual verse at the top, “At Gods comand Noah built an Ark / In which the Righteous did embark / Whilst God deluged the ancient world / Aand vengeance on the wicked hurld,” render this a rare and delightful sampler. The figure with the look of a skeleton to it next to the house is unusual as well. 

The maker signed it Nancy Lees, or perhaps Lee, as she may have intended a bit more lettering on the inscription. Another indication that she wasn’t quite finished is that a few threads that she basted as guide lines remain – upper left and lower right.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a molded frame. 

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