Sampler by Mary Brown, 1860.

Cotton fabric, wool yarns, 180mm x 175mm.

This is another sampler that is characteristically colonial. It was worked in Dunedin in about 1860 and exhibits the simple design that seems to have been a standard pattern for samplers worked in local schools at that time. It is interesting to note the alternating red and green colour scheme for the alphabet and number sequences – a link with the Scottish tradition – and the use of double running stitch for the border patterns. The sewer’s signature and age takes up the bottom portion of the work, flanked by a pair of crowns. These suggest perhaps the role of the sampler in the curriculum – as a record of attainment for potential domestic servants who might be called upon to embroider their employers’ family linen.

Mary Brown was the second daughter of Daniel Brown and Helen Lundie, born in Glasgow in 1848. She was 10 years old when her family left Scotland for Dunedin on the Strathfieldsaye, arriving at Port Chalmers late in 1858. Her father had been a printer but became a gardener in New Zealand and settled the family in Roslyn. We do not know which Dunedin school Mary attended but her sampler is clearly a school project. In 1873 Mary married Lewis Marshall, a farmer at Halfway Bush. Born in Falkirk, Scotland he had come to Otago as a small child on the Cornwall in 1849, one of the earliest ships sent out by the Otago Association. She died in Dunedin in 1925 aged 77.
Mary Marshall
Production Date
Circa 1860
185 (h) x 180 (w) mm
255 (h) x 255 (w) mm (mounted)