Isabella Robeson circa 1809
Origin and date: Scottish circa 1809
Linen count and finished size: 35 count, 19-1/2″x15″
Stitches: cross, double running, rice, and counted thread satin
Source: private collection
This Scottish sampler features many distinguishing characteristics of samplers made in that country, most notably the arcaded pansy band across the top third, the four-sided floral border with double running stitch flourishes, and the famous mansion house. Of this large building which appears in some shape or form on so many eighteenth and nineteenth century Scottish samplers, Margaret Swain, in Scottish Embroidery: Medieval to Modern (Batsford, London, 1986) says: “The buildings that occur on Scottish samplers are often thought to be imaginary…It seems probable that the solid symmetrical houses appearing on many Scottish samplers between 1750 and 1850 are not imaginary, but actual houses, too familiar to the needlewoman and her family to need a label.” Poor Isabella must have suffered from dyslexia, as evidenced by the numerous grammatical, spelling, and syntactical errors in her rather short stitched verses! Stitches used in the sampler are mostly cross, with some double running, rice, and counted thread satin embellishments.