Sampler by Elspeth Duncan, 1846.

Cotton fabric, wool threads, 295mm x 295mm.

This is another Scottish sampler. It has more colours than many Scottish examples but the flat-topped ‘A’ in some of the alphabet sequences and the initials (of family members) are typical. It even seems to have a family motto, Faith and Fortitude. This is very close to the motto of Clan Shaw of Torradoch: By Faith and Fortitude. It features cross-stitch, eyelet stitch, stem stitch and straight-angled stitch.

Elspeth (or Elsie) Duncan worked this sampler in 1846 when she was 13 years old. She was probably from the Scottish Highlands: she married a Highland shepherd, Donald McLennan, from Dingwall near Inverness, and gave birth to her third child at Blairhall, near Elgin, in 1863. Her husband came to New Zealand on the Red Jacket that same year, one of many Highland shepherds brought out to work on Otago’s great estates. He worked for John Mclean at Morven Hills and then at Redcastle near Oamaru. Elspeth and the children followed on the Warrior Queen in 1866. They subsequently went farming on their own account, taking up land at Hawea Flat in 1874 and building a house they called ‘Blair Hall’. Their daughter Flora Jane was the first European child born in the district (in 1878). Elspeth died there in 1919 aged 88 years.
Elspeth McLennan
Production Date
310 (h) x 300 (w) mm
350 (h) x 350 (w) mm (mounted)