Sampler by Margaret Aitken, 1818.

Linen fabric, wool threads, 430mm x 260mm.

This fine sampler exhibits all the characteristics that are associated with Scottish samplers; a red and green thread colour scheme, use of a flat-topped letter ‘A’, and the inclusion of family names or initials. This one has eleven different family names, including that of the sewer. The bottom section has a range of spot motifs of birds and plants and there are a number of different border patterns used to divide up the various rows. Along the top is an arcaded floral pattern, a variation of one that appears frequently on nineteenth-century samplers.

Despite the 11 Aitken family names – all stitched out in full – we have no idea who Margaret Aitken was or how her sampler came to Otago. It is most likely that it was a keepsake of home for an emigrant of a later generation but it cannot be ruled out that Margaret (or was Isabella the sewer?) came herself. We just do not have any information to connect the sampler to any settler story. It was given to the Museum from the deceased estate of Albert Thomson in 1998. Any information from Museum visitors would be welcome.
Margaret Aitken
Production Date
Sampler 440x260mm
Mount 545x420mm