Sampler by Janet Gunn, 1829.

Linen fabric, wool threads, 208mm x 207mm.

This sampler also has a Scottish origin. It uses the red and green thread colour scheme and, as well as the standard alphabet and (truncated) number sequence, it incorporates the initials of family members (the first being ‘GG’ for George Gunn who was Janet’s father). It also has the crown/coronet spot motifs that girls might need to be able to sew on linen if they went into service in an aristocratic household.

Janet Pomona Gunn, more often known as Jessie, was from Edinburgh. She worked this sampler, probably at school, when she was very young. She emigrated to Otago on the Maori in 1852. Jessie’s entry on the ship’s passenger list describes her as “Miss Gunn” and she was probably a cabin class passenger, possibly travelling with members of the McGlashan family who were prominent in the Otago Association in Edinburgh. On arrival she stayed with Edward McGlashan’s family in North East Valley, probably at their house ‘Dalmore’ (which is still standing), but within a year was married to Peter Proudfoot. He was a rising star in Otago, the Provincial surveyor, first Commissioner of Crown Lands, a member of the Provincial Council and Treasurer of the Waste Lands Board. These were key offices in the settlement and Peter worked hard at them. In 1857 he became ill but remained hard at work until his death in October. He was one of the last people buried in the old Arthur Street cemetery. Jessie was left with three young children. She never remarried and lived on in Dunedin until her death in 1896. Her son, George, was a long-time treasurer of the Otago Settlers Association and bequeathed his mother’s sampler to the Museum on his death in 1939.
Janet Gunn
Production Date
Sampler 210x210mm
Mount 250x255mm