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Their Manners Pleasing and Their Education Complete: Newport Samplers 1728 - 1835 and Newport Furniture from the Ott Collection
January 23, 2012  | 

By popular demand, the Newport Historical Society is pleased to announce the return of the exhibit from the 2012 Newport Antiques Show, Their Manners Pleasing, and Their Education Complete; Newport Samplers 1728-1835 now through February 24, 2012, at the Society’s restored Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House.

The exhibit, featuring eighteenth and early nineteenth century samplers from the Society’s textiles collection, reflects the evolution of Newport needlework over the course of a century and includes examples of the different types of samplers that a girl might produce during her lifetime. “Sampler-making was a vital part of a young woman’s education in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,” explains Jessie MacLeod, exhibit curator and Newport Historical Society Buchanan/Burnam intern. “Stitching a plain sampler helped a girl practice her sewing skills, and elaborate pieces of fancy needlework served as evidence of a young lady’s refinement and accomplishment.”

Most decorative samplers were made in female academies, where pupils learned needlework along with subjects like reading, arithmetic, painting, and music. Frances Townsend ran one such school for the daughters of Newport’s elite, promising in a 1787 advertisement that her instruction would “render their Manners pleasing, and their Education complete.” Newport samplers are well-known for their lively and distinctive designs and many fine examples will be exhibited. Their Manners Pleasing, and Their Education Complete is generously sponsored by Woodbury Auction, LLC, the auction services division of Thomas Schwenke, Inc.

The exhibit, which initially debuted during the weekend of the Newport Antiques Show, August 12 – 14, 2011, can be viewed in the restored 1730 Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House, attached to the Newport Historical Society headquarters at 82 Touro Street. The exhibit is open to the public through February 24, 2011, Monday through Friday, 10am to 3pm. (Closed February 20, 2012.) Admission is by donation.

For those that cannot travel to see the exhibit, the Society is pleased to announce that many of the samplers from the NHS collections are now available through the online database. To explore the database visit:

In addition to the samplers, the Newport Historical Society is pleased to share two items from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ott of Providence. The two pieces are on a long-term loan to the Society and are currently on display in the restored 1730 Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House.

Chair, Circa 1745
Walnut side chair with a brown leather drop seat; slightly bowed crestrail with protruding ears, pierced splat back with ribs. Attributed to Thomas Davenport when we was working in Newport.

Table, Circa 1800
Swivel top table with rounded corners and reeded trim on apron. Medallion on apron is pinecone motif with bees in brass. Legs are spirally turned supports over arched pedestal terminating in brass casters with a leaf motif. Circular leaf motif on leg supports. Leg supports and large stretcher are both spirally turned. Signed, possibly by James Taylor.

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