Christian Fisher circa 1800


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A Scottish sampler, circa 1800

This is a spectacular Scottish sampler with a four-sided floral border surrounding a vast reserve that encompasses two houses and an amazing array of human, animal, and botanical motifs.  Across the top is an arcaded band of stylized flowers, each one of the eight executed differently.  Below this appears the initials JF and HH, likely the parents of the maker, Christian Fisher.  Of the two houses on the sampler the upper house is grander with a lawn, the lower house a bit humbler.  Another arcaded band of stylized flowers is stitched above the lower house and harks back to 17th-century designs.  The central house scene is surrounded by traditional Scottish sampler motifs such as thistles and stacked trees.  There is an hourglass next to a fully clothed Adam and Eve with the coiled serpent and a  crowned woman with a black dog which might represent Mary Queen of Scots with the black dog of Linlithgow, adjacent to Scotland’s golden apple tree: many Scottish families during this period had sympathies with the Stuart lineage and this motif could be a subtle nod to that.

The sampler is in very good condition, with some tiny holes to the ground fabric at the bottom of the sampler, and some “bleeding” of darker green silks visible in the photos . Stitches used including cross, satin and stem.  The sampler appears to have been conservation mounted.  It measures 19″x17″, with the frame (not contemporary with the sampler but very nice and in very good condition), 25″ x 23″ overall.