American Sampler by Ruthey Lock, Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 1802

This outstanding and highly appealing sampler was worked in an unusually large format and retains its strong, original colors. It was, for many years, in one of the finest American sampler collections: the Theodore H. Kapnek Collection. Worked by Ruthey Lock in 1802, it is part of an important group worked in and around Lexington, Massachusetts in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These samplers include depictions of brick houses, wonderful scenes of people, trees and birds, pots of flowers and are surrounded on three sides by wide arcaded borders surrounding sawtooth inner borders.

Ruthey Lock was born 1790 to Benjamin Lock (1756-1842) and Betsey (Wyman) Lock (1761-1831). Benjamin was a farmer who served in the Revolutionary War, part of the company that encountered the British at the historic battle on Lexington Common, April 19, 1775. This battle, along with the one fought the same day in Concord, was the first military engagement of the war. The roots of the Lock and Wyman families extend deeply into Massachusetts, the Lock / Locke family originating with Deacon William Lock (1628-1720).

Ruthey was the third of the eight children born to Benjamin and Betsy. In 1811, on her 21st birthday, she married Harvey Tileston (1787-1832) and they became the parents of one child, Harvey, born in 1812. Ruthey died in 1847 and is buried in the Central Burying Ground in Boston. Much information about the samplermaker and the family is published in Book of the Lockes: A Genealogical and Historical Record of the Descendants of William Locke of Woburn by John Goodwin Locke (Boston, 1853).

The sampler has been published as figure 46 in A Gallery of American Samplers: The Theodore H. Kapnek Collection by Glee Krueger (E.P. Dutton, New York, 1978), and in an article in The Magazine Antiques, Sept 1978 by Elisabeth Garrett. It was exhibited at the Museum of American Folk Art in 1978.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a maple frame.

Dealer M. Finkel & Daughter
Date: 1802
Origin Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Artist/Maker Ruthey Lock
Measurements Sampler size: 21½” x 21" * Frame size: 26" x 25½”
Inventory View Dealer's Inventory
Price $24,000
Contact Amy Finkel, 215-627-7797 or

Stay up to date with our ADA newsletter.