Sampler by Elizabeth Comber, 1846.
Conservation funded by the Otago Embroiderers’ Guild in 2005 and 2006.

Wool fabric, silk threads, 380mm x 340mm.

This superb sampler has a plain weave wool ground embroidered with polychrome silk threads. Two rows of alphabets head the sampler. Beneath is the six-line verse, which also appears on two other samplers in this exhibition. It was a popular choice for samplers and also appears on the earliest surviving American sampler, worked by a daughter of one of the Mayflower pilgrims in 1640. The verse is here edged with an arrangement of small motifs; trees, birds, flowers, a squirrel and a star. Bands of border stitches separate the verse from three rows of further motifs. The sewer’s signature, age and date are worked in a small panel at the centre base. A flowering vine and flower edging is worked around the border on all sides.

Eizabeth Comber was 15 years old when she worked this sampler in 1846. It probably represents the end of her education and is a demonstration of her level of attainment. Four years later Elizabeth came to the infant settlement of Christchurch, one of the passengers by Canterbury’s famous ‘first four ships’. We have no further information on Elizabeth after her arrival. Her sampler was donated to the Museum in 1977 by Mrs J. A. Keenan of Burkes.
Elizabeth Comber
Production Date
395 (h) x 360 (w) mm
410 (h) x 385 (w) mm (mounted)