Sampler by Elizabeth Adam, 1853.

Linen fabric, silk threads, 390mm x 270mm.

This is a very fine example of a mid-nineteenth century Scottish schoolgirl’s sampler. The flower border with twisted stems was very popular in Scotland, appearing long after this pattern had gone out of fashion in England. It also has the same stylised carnations that appears on Mary Callender’s sampler from 1827. Central to the sampler is a band of genealogical data: the maker’s name surmounted by those of her parents and flanked by the initials of other family members. Along the bottom is the schoolhouse motif with the blue slate roof that is another indication of its Scottish provenance.

Despite all the genealogical data that Elizabeth Adam has worked into her sampler, little is known of her identity or history. She is presumed to be a relative of Mary Callender, whose mother was Janet Adam, but is from a generation later than Mary if their sampler dates are anything to go by. Both samplers were part of the group of four donated to the Museum from the estate of Sarah Leach, née Calder, in 1957.
Elisabeth Adam
Production Date
420 (h) x 285 (w) mm
540 (h) x 425 (w) mm (mounted)