Agnes Lorimer,

Agnes Lorimer,

Edinburgh, Scotland, circa 1836

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sampler size: 16¾” x 8” • framed size: 18¾” x 10” • sold

This handsome band sampler displays many indicative Scottish characteristics: the primary use of red and green, the curlicue lettering and the inclusion of family initials. A well-worked, fine variety of alphabets continues row after row alternating red and olive green for each letter. Across the middle Agnes Lorimer stitched a tightly worked lowercase alphabet in a deep emerald green, and her name in blue at the bottom, both are welcoming additions to the palette.

Agnes was born in 1823 to Peter Lorimer and Charlotte Wood of Edinburgh. Much information could be found on Agnes’s father, as Peter was a notable builder and had quite a hand in developing Edinburgh, specifically Calton Bridge and Waterloo Place. A storied account of Mr. Lorimer’s business is found in The Making of Classical Edinburgh by A. J. Youngson (Edinburgh University Press, 1966). Another interesting mention in the book is in regard to builders themselves as they tended, not surprisingly, to build their own residencies in the finer streets. This is the case of Charlotte Square, where Peter Lorimer was one of many builders who took a feu (Scottish form of land tenure) there. Charlotte Square is one of the finest squares in Edinburgh’s New Town, now designated as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Peter died in 1841, at the age of 65, and it is noted in the Calton Buring Grounds records: “Peter, Esq. Builder and Fenceman of Calton, from Myreside Cottage is buried in the New Ground, close to the north wall of his own lands.” His daughter, our samplermaker Agnes, died in 1843 at the age of 20 and is buried in this family plot, as well.

Miss Lorimer worked her sampler in silk on linen and it has remained in excellent condition. It is now conservation mounted into a black painted, molded frame.

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