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Sampler

Artist/Maker:
Hext, Elizabeth
Place Made:
Charleston South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1743
Medium:
silk on linen
Dimensions:
HOA 17-3/16″; WOA 8-9/16″
Accession Number:
5517
Description:
Elizabeth Hext’s sampler is the second earliest Charleston-area sampler known. The earliest Charleston-area sampler is dated 1729 and is in the collection of the Charleston Museum. However, this is the oldest known sampler by a southern needleworker that identifies the girl’s teacher.

Much is known about Mary Hext, who advertised her boarding school in the South Carolina Gazette and rented a house belonging to Elizabeth’s brother-in-law, Samuel Prioleau, Jr. This information helps us trace the extent to which the Hext family were related to other important Charleston families, including Elizabeth’s niece, Hannah Dart, whose portrait by Jeremiah Theus is in the MESDA collection.

INSCRIPTION: Alphabet and verse sampler, rectangular in shape. Having stitching of silk thread on linen ground. Alphabet lines and verses are divided by geometric stitchings in navy, varying shades of green, light blue, and off-white–patterns consisting of diamond shapes, triangles, intersecting lines, and straight lines.

The first row has a small row of upper case alphabets going from A to Z (excluding J and U), followed by the numbers 1 through 9; letters and numbers are represented in a variety of colors: off-white, light brown, green, light blue, navy, red, pink, and lavender.

The second and third lines represent a larger stitching of the upper case alphabet going from A to Z (excluding J and U), followed by the numbers 10 through 15; letters and numbers are represented in a variety of colors: off-white, navy, green, yellow, light blue and red.

Lines four and five consist of the following verse: Remember Men That Die Thou Must and after Come / To Judgment Just”, having a stitched crown design separating the verse from numbers 16 through 27 (excluding number 22 and ending with a single 2).

Lines six through nine consist of the following verse: “See how the Lilies flourifh White and fair See how (stitched heart design) / the Ravens fed from Heaven are Then never diftrust / they God for Cloth and Bread Whilt Lilies flourifh and (stitched crown design) / the Ravens fed (stitched crown design) CC (stitched heart design) AC (stitched crown design) IM (stitched heart design) MM (stitched heart design) SP (stitched heart design) PP (stitched heart design) GH (two stitched hearts).

Lines ten through seventeen consist of the following verse: Knowledge When Wisdom Is Too Weak To Guide / Her Is Like a Head Strong Horse That Throws His / Rider Lord Give Me Wisdom To Direct My Ways I (stitched crown design) / Beg Not Riches Nor Yet Length of Days My Life (two stitched hearts) / A Flower the Time It Hath To Last Is Mixt With (stitched crown design) / Frost and Shook With Every Blast Neither House (stitched heart design) / Nor Land Nor Measured Heaps of Wealth Can Ren / der To a Dying Man His Health (stitched crown design) AM (stitched crown design) MH (stitched heart design) followed by numbers 28 through 31.

Line eighteen has the following multi-colored alphabet letters: Aabcdefghiklmnopqrfstv.

Line nineteen has the following off-white, yellow, and light blue alphabet and numbers: uwxyz&32333435363738.

Lines twenty through twenty-three consist of the following verse: Remember How Thy Creator in The E— of Thy (two stitched hearts) / Youth While The Evil Days Come Not Nor The Years / Draw Nigh when Thou fhalt Say I Have No Pleasure / in them (stitched crown design) followed by numbers 43 through 55.

The twenty-fouth line begins with a stitched heart, crown, and heart, followed by the name David Hext with two stitched red hearts and the name Ann Hext, with a stitched heart, crown, and heart.

Lines twenty-five through twenty-eight consist of the following verse: Elizabeth Hext is My Name Carolina Is My Nation (stitched crown design) / Charles Town is My Dwelling Place and Christ is My / Salvation (stitched crown, heart, and crown) This Sampler Was Ended In The (two stitched hearts) / Ninth Year of Her Age (stitched crown design) 1743 followed by numbers 46 through 52.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund