Sampler by Elizabeth Money, 1843.

Linen fabric, wool and silk threads, 400mm x 370mm.

Here is a mid-nineteenth-century Scottish sampler whose colour scheme retains the traditional red and green but adds some subtle touches of pink, teal, brown, black, old gold and orange. The alphabet and number sequences feature the characteristic flat-topped ‘A’ and the middle band contains the pairs of family initials that were such a feature of Scottish samplers. The sewer’s signature, age and date are framed in the centre by a neat border pattern and the rest of the lower portion is given over to spot motifs of plants and four birds, one sitting on its nest. A very nice floral border pattern frames the whole work although the sewer seems to have struggled in working the pattern evenly around the corners.

Elizabeth Money was born circa 1831 and came to New Zealand with her husband James Keir in 1862. James was a carpenter from Little Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland and this may be where Elizabeth was from too. They were married by 1856 and had a 3-year-old daughter who died at Helensburgh (northwest of Glasgow) in 1859. The couple, probably with children, arrived in Bluff on the Robert Henderson in 1862. This was the first vessel chartered to carry immigrants for the newly independent Southland province and the Keirs had their fares subsidised by the provincial government in Invercargill. No full passenger list survives but James Keir owed £20 for the passage, a figure that likely represented a family’s part fare. It is not clear what they did next but in 1865 Elizabeth Keir was one of the first half dozen women in the new township of Tapanui in West Otago. She remained there with her children after James died in 1883. Elizabeth died in 1917 aged 86.
Elizabeth Money
Production Date
445 (h) x 400 (w) mm
540 (h) x 425 (w) mm (mounted)