Sampler by Isabella Guthrie, no date.

Cotton fabric, wool threads, 380mm x 300mm.

Here is a Scottish sampler that breaks the mould of convention somewhat. With a characteristic focus on family detail it is worked in multitude of colours rather than the standard red and green. Alphabet and number sequences fill up the top third of the work. A marvellously detailed genealogical panel takes up the central portion, enriched by spot motifs of crowns, hearts and other details. Plants and animals fill out the lower portion, with the sewer’s name and age along the bottom edge set into a nicely worked border of alternating flowers that takes up the other three edges. There is an elegance of design about this sampler that contrasts with the one by Isabella Brown that accompanied it into the collection.

Like Isabella Brown’s (see accompanying sampler), Isabella Guthrie’s identity is a mystery. It seems likely that she was Scottish and a forbear or family connection of Mrs E. M.Tubman, the Timaru woman who donated her sampler to the Museum in 1951. With just a little data on Mrs Tubman’s genealogy it might be possible to decipher all the wonderful family detail encoded in Isabella’s sampler.
Isabella Guthrie
400 (h) x 310 (w) mm
540 (h) x 420 (w) mm (mounted)