Sampler worked by Mary Emslie Cruickshank, no date.

Cotton fabric, wool threads, 340mm x 265mm.

Here is a lovely example of a nineteenth-century Scottish sampler. It is worked entirely in cross-stitch using red and green threads. It has two alphabets and one number sequence, subdivided by a border pattern. The first alphabet has the characteristically Scottish flat-topped ‘A’. The central panel then features the Scottish enthusiasm for family detail, with a sequence of initials followed by a pair of initials around a heart motif – probably the sewer’s parents. The verse paraphrases the words of Jesus without being a biblical quote and offers an uplifting moral in contrast to the gloomy meditations on death that are more often found on samplers. Crowns, bowls of plenty, crosses, plants, birds and animal spot motifs take up the bottom half of the work. These include, at centre-bottom, a pair of very fine peacocks. The sewer’s name, age and date occupy the bottom row and the whole is contained within a floral border of strawberries with twisted stems.

Unfortunately this sampler has become detached from details of its donor. Without this vital data it is very difficult to establish how the sampler came to New Zealand and who Mary Cruickshank was. Since the vital date is missing we cannot even establish when Mary was 7 years old to try and co-relate this age with details on the subsequent life history of any possible candidates for Mary among the immigrants who came to Otago. Any information from Museum visitors would be most welcome.
Mary Emslie Cruickshank
340 (h) x 275 (w) mm
352 (h) x 452 (w) mm (mount)