A silk and linen needlework sampler wrought by Mary Tidball, dated 1834
With six verses, birds, bouquets and a house flanked by flowering vines. sight height 33 1/2in (85.2cm); sight width 24 1/2in (62.1cm)
Provenance: David Tidball (1805-1892), brother of Mary Tidball Clarence Tidball (b. 1847), son Susan Tidball Berry (1877-1959), daughter Caroline Berry Hayes (b. 1906-1999), daughter Thence by gift to the consignor
Mary Tidball was born in 1799, the daughter of John Tidball (1766-1846) and Sarah McGowh (1771-1842), of Washington County, Pennsylvania.
A large group of samplers worked by young girls and bearing the name "Mary Tidball" survives; most are dated to the late 1830s and early 1840s. Little has been previously known of the identity of Mary Tidball, and this sampler, comparable to the group in its large size and stylized decoration, may at last identify the schoolmistress whose school in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, is the best-known school of needlework in Western Pennsylvania.
For more on the body of needleworks from Mary's school, see Stacey C. Hollander, American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum, (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001), 517-18 and Betty Ring, Girlhood Embroidery, American Samplers & Pictorial Needlework 1650-1850, vol. II, (New York, 1993) pp. 464-465.
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