Sampler by Mary Wallace, 1858.

Linen fabric, wool threads, 445mm x 310mm.

This is a very fine mid-nineteenth-century Scottish sampler, most likely worked by the eleven-year-old sewer at school. The conventional alphabet and number sequences occupy only the upper portion of the work. Most of the sampler is devoted to spot motifs of plants and animals, some of them quite elaborate, with a large central building surmounted by a crown. This undoubtedly represents the school. The sewer’s name and details are accompanied by the full names of her parents and a sequence of initials to represent other family members.

Mary Wallace was the aunt of Catherine Paterson Ferguson, née Main, who donated this sampler with two others in 1962. Mary was the sister of Mrs Main’s mother, Agnes Wallace. From Fife in Scotland, the Wallace girls both emigrated to New Zealand. Agnes Wallace married Captain Alexander Pearson Main while Mary Wallace married William Aitchison, a Canadian-born farmer from Milton. She died in Milton in 1917, aged 69.
Mary Wallace
Production Date
455 (h) x 320 (w) mm
545 (h) x 420 (w) mm (mounted)