Monday, August 16, 2021

More Rugs and Paintings by Barbara E. Merry

As promised, here are some paintings by Barbara.  All of these paintings are owned by Anne, who kindly shared her treasure-trove with me.  This first one is painted on ticking; yup, the fabric.  You can see the slight wrinkles at the top of the frame
A photo of the back of the painting.
Below is a painting of Joyce O'Grady's home where Barbara would buy her quilts and old textiles she'd add to her rugs.  Barbara preferred old textiles with odd colors and textures over bright colors.
These two paintings below are of Sanford Place, Maine where Barbara lived until she was 20.

Another of Anne's precious treasures is this painting of the 'washer woman' by Barbara.  Anne said she believed there were hooked rugs of a washer woman and so I went in search.
Thanks to a couple friends I was able to locate a few more rugs hooked by Barbara and lots of personal history.  And got real lucky in finding a hooked rug of a washer woman.   The dimensions are 22 x 25.  Thanks to Robin for the screen shot.
More discoveries that day were other hooked rugs; it seemed as tho I'd hit the motherlode. 
Barbara was married 3 times; her first marriage was at the age of 20 to Edward Franklin Littlefield, a farmer who was 19 years her senior.  She had 4 children during that 9 1/2 year union.  When Barbara ended the marriage she took the children and 2 shopping bags of clothing and supported her children with odd jobs and on farms.

At the age of 40 Barbara married John Merry, an antique dealer and retail fisherman. Barbara would go out on the fishing boat and perhaps time on the water inspired these rugs.  These are only a few of the many she claims to have hooked.  They had one son and  were married 23 years until John's death.

I've never seen any ship hooked rugs until these.  Perhaps they were never on an auction site as they may have been commissioned.
A couple more boat/ship rugs which I believe are still in the homes of the people who commissioned them.
And a grouping of said rugs.
After the death of her second husband (John Merry) and the age of 67 she wed William Henry Boulter.  After his death Barbara moved from the home in Knox back to Swanville and the home Barbara shared with John Merry.  

Hope you have enjoyed getting to know Barbara E. Merry a little more and who knows, maybe one day a few more rugs or paintings may become available to me.

Happy Hooking.


  1. Oh my goodness , Saundra ! Loved this post ! Barbara's paintings & hooking was so primitive and charming . I love how she painted the chicken , framed it & covered the backing with fabric , she made-do with what she had ....just love how she did that . Her rugs with the ships are beautiful . Thanks for sharing her story with us !!!

  2. I agree, this s a lovely post and so interesting to learn the history of Barbara, the author of these rugs and paintings. One question. Is Barbara still living?

    Hugs, Julia

  3. What a wonderful story about a wonderful hooker. Her rugs are amazing and she was amazing! Janice

  4. Thanks for all the history and pictures. If not for you, I would never have heard of Barbara Merry. She sure was a prolific hooker.

  5. Like my sissie, but for you, I would not know of Barbara either. Fascinating history...and I really do like her naive style of painting. ~Robin~

  6. Loved all the history,and the photos,,,
    So interesting,,,
    Thanks so much,,,

  7. She was certainly prolific and I love that you know so much about her.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and I always welcome comments.