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ANN WALLACE - The Scarlet Letter
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Is it Scottish, or is it Scottish-American?

This stunning sampler exhibits characteristics of both Scottish and American samplers. The four-sided carnation border with the cruciform corner blocks, and the arcaded band of stylized pansies across the top are clearly characteristics of Scottish samplers. The names recorded on the sampler (William and Ann Wallace, and Robenie Pender) are Scottish, as well as the clusters of family initials in one of the cartouches. But in spite of these apparent clues to the sampler's ethnicity, questions remain: for example, why was the original sampler stitched on a loosely woven homespun linen of the type made and used on Pennsylvania samplers of the early nineteenth century? And then there is the curious business of the central reserve, brimming with the exuberant style of floral and bird motifs found on Pennsylvania samplers of the same period. Add to these curiosities, the original pale green watered silk ribbon border that edged the original is identical to ribbon edgings on Pennsylvania samplers. Could Ann have emigrated to Pennsylvania from Scotland, and been taught needlework by a Scottish instructress (Mrs. Barr is named on the sampler)?

Stitches used in the sampler are cross, eyelet, straight, back, counted and/or freehand satin and stem. Two versions of the graph have been supplied: one charted entirely for counted thread embroidery, the other partially charted with the freehand sections drawn in to scale.

Words courtesy of The Scarlett Letter.


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