Early Victorian Scottish Silk- and Linen-on-Linen Sampler - image 1 of 10

Many Scottish samplers embroidered in the mid-19th century were often done with linen and silk floss on linen with a great deal of red color. In this example, our stitcher filled the upper half of her sampler with the alphabet, her numbers and the initials and names of family members. Just after these names, Thomas Low and Janet Low, she placed a large insert with block letter initials. Between some of these initials she used a very large heart done in red and blue. There is also a small heart on the right side near the border.

The bottom half was utilized to insert a multitude of motifs, each one having its own character. There is a large 3-chimneyed house in the middle with 5 large, multiple-paned windows. The stitcher used counted cross stitch to embroider her house. In the lower right corner is a depiction of Adam and Eve with the Tree of Good and Evil and a wily serpent slithering up the trunk. Beneath the house is a pair of evergreen trees and a flowering jardinière between them. To the left is a large jardiniere with huge flowers growing in it. Below it is a bevy of chickens and a rooster. There are several birds used as spot motifs, as well as more evergreen trees and flowers. The stitcher used the lower half of the piece well with her enchanting motif choices.

She seemed to prefer red as her main color, with teal blue and champagne as accents. The stitcher used a single row of red cross stitch to enclose her sampler.

The end result of her wonderful motifs, harmonizing colors and cross stitch embroidery makes for a very decorative piece of antique needlework. Similar samplers can be found in the book, “Embroidered Stories: Scottish Samplers,” by Helen Wyld. (See use of heart motif on page 82 of this book.)

This sampler dates to around 1840. The ground was woven by handspun linen threads.

The sampler was framed at a later date, about 100 years ago. It is a nice walnut veneer frame that suits the sampler quite well. The glass was handmade, with lots of bubbles and waves that adds to its overall appeal.

The condition of the sampler is excellent for its age of around 180 years. The linen shows age toning with some small age spots here and there. The sampler was stretched tightly when it was framed, leaving a few tiny bare spots from this stretching. There are some missing stitches, especially in the single-stitch border. The veneered frame is in excellent condition and has no issues on which to comment.

It measures 14-¾ inches wide by 18-¼ inches high.


Perry-Joyce Fine Arts

Early Victorian Scottish Silk- and Linen-on-Linen Sampler

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