Sampler by Deborah Shackleton, 1837.
Linen fabric, wool threads, 300mm x 210mm.

This is a fairly standard beginner’s sampler with sequences of alphabets (but no numbers) divided by a range of border motifs. It has the name of its sewer and the year it was sewn but none of the more sophisticated spot motifs nor even a verse. There are also none of the initials that are characteristic of Scottish samplers nor the crowns that poor girls worked into their samplers to showcase their needlework skills to potential employers.

“D. Shackleton”, believed to be Deborah Shackleton, was the mother of Dr William Mullin. She was a member of the famous Irish family that included the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. He was the son of one of her cousins. The Mullins emigrated to New Zealand in 1883 but what happened to them after arrival is so far unknown. Dr Mullin studied medicine at the University of Otago from 1884-1889 and then retired to Dunedin at the end of his career in 1927. He donated his mother’s sampler to the Museum in 1957.
D. Mullin
Production Date
335 (h) x 215 (w) mm
455 (h) x 350 (w) mm (mounted)