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Art & Design

Nabby Martin, Sampler, 1786, Museum Appropriation Fund

Nabby Martin


Nabby Martin American, 1775-1864
Sampler, 1786
Linen plain weave with silk and metallic-wrapped yarn embroidery
Length: 38.1 cm (15 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 17.361

The Museum’s collection of about forty samplers includes at least seven of the finest ever stitched in America. Made between 1786 and 1796 by Rhode Island girls at the Mary Balch school in Providence, these samplers form a body of work with a recognizable regional style. Many of Balch’s designs for her students resembled Nabby Martin’s sampler, organized around representations of important Rhode Island buildings and incorporating fashionably dressed people in addition to the typical verses, floral designs, and alphabets. At center is a structure identified in other samplers as the State House, and above it is the 1770 College Edifice (now called University Hall) of Brown University

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