Sampler by Esther Hill, 1846.

Linen fabric, silk threads, 335mm x 290mm.

This sampler comes from a school at Larne in Northern Ireland. The sewer was 11 years old when she completed this work and has made a very fine job of it. Unlike the Scottish custom, this sampler has no family details and no school building. Instead the conventional alphabet and number sequences are followed by a pious exhortation. The sewer’s details are next and underneath them are three spot motifs: a bowl of plenty flanked by two matching birds as mirror images. The whole is surrounded by an elaborate frieze border, which has been worked very effectively, avoiding the awkward corner turns that schoolgirls often struggled with in designing their samplers.

Esther Hill was born circa 1835 and educated at Miss Isabella Currie’s school in Larne. She married Matthew Tweed and had at least two daughters by the time they emigrated to Otago in 1861. The second, Jane Inglis Tweed, was just six weeks old when they made the long journey across the oceans. At least two more children were born in the colony. The Tweeds established a farm, ‘Cloverdale’, at Wylie’s Crossing in South Otago. Esther died there in 1913 aged 78. Her sampler was donated to the Museum by a granddaughter in 1966.
Esther Hill
Production Date
340 (h) x 297 (w) mm
453 (h) x 350 (w) mm (mounted)