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Mourning Embroidery

Harry, Ann
Place Made:
Fayetteville Academy Fayetteville North Carolina
Date Made:
silk on silk –paint
HOA 21-1/2″; WOA 22″
Accession Number:
Silk on silk needlework embroidery with painted landscape scene and facial features. In the fore front rest a large rectangular memorial with four pilasters and central wreath; atop the memorial rest three urns with shell designs and twisted finials. The trees, grass, flowers, urns, pilasters, and sections of the memorial are silk chenille thread. A female figure is leaning on the right side of the memorial; she wears a brown dress with light brown detailing; having painted skin, facial features and hair; dress is silk chenille thread.

The inscription on the Fayetteville Academy Needlework/mourning picture reads as follows:

In // Memory // of // Enoch Harry, who departed from this life // 29 Oct. 1793. Aged <28> years & ………months

(David) Harry departed // this life 17 Oct. 1794 aged// 3 years & 8 months.

Jacob Mandeville departed // this life Oct. 9 1803 Aged// ten months

Farewell bright Souls. A short Farewell. Till we shall // meet again. In that happy place where pleasures dwell // And trees of life bear fruits of love. There Glory sits on // every face, there the Grace // may that lead us homeward to the sky.


Wrought By Ann Harry
Fayetteville Academy Dec. 20, 1811

ARTIST: Ann Harry Sparks (1793-1870) lived most of her life in Marlboro County, South Carolina, about 65 miles from the Fayetteville Academy where she was educated and worked this piece of needlework. She was born on June 22, 1793, the same year her father Enoch Harry (1765-1793) died. Her mother, Susannah Forness, then married a wealthy planter, David Mandeville (d. 1827). On this needlework picture she mourns the death of her father, as well as her brother David Harry (1791-1794), and her half-brother Jacob Mandeville (d. 1803). In 1822, Ann married a well-to-do Marlboro County planter, Samuel Sparks (1787-1878). She and her husband are buried at the Welsh Neck Baptist Church Cemetery in Society Hill, Darlington County, South Carolina.

The Fayetteville Academy was founded in 1794 by the Reverend David Kerr. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Kerr became the first Presiding Professor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1810 the Raleigh Star observed that the Fayetteville Academy “had upwards of 120 Students… Music, Painting, and the French Language are said to be taught in a very superior manner by Miss Beze, a native of France.” The price of tuition for the 1811 term was between $2.50 and $6 per quarter. room and board cost $18 to $21 per quarter. The Academy taught both young men and women. Beginning in 1802 the young men were housed in a new “boarding house… large and commodious… very convenient to the Academy.”Young women were housed in the homes of “the most respectable families.” Usually the cost of materials for an embroidered picture such as this one would have been extra.

Ann worked this picture in the final days of the Academy’s 1811 term. She left portions of her memorial text unfilled.

HISTORY: This needlework descended through the Harry-Sparks family from Ann (Harry) Sparks (1793-1870) to her son Alexander Doddridge Sparks (1825-1895), to his daughter Mary Rebecca (Sparks) Rogers (1866-1954), to her son Francis Benjamin Rogers (1894-1968), to his son Virginius Cullum Rogers (1920-1964), to his daugher Catherine Gambrell Rogers (b.1957 ).

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund and Gift of Catherine Gambrell Rogers.