Elisabeth Stewart,

Elisabeth Stewart,

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1828

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sampler size: 16½” x 13" • framed size: 19¾” x 16¼” • sold

Scottish samplers featuring a strong central house appeal to a variety of collectors because of the wonderfully detailed house and lawn scene, the many other fine pictorial elements and the fact that the samplermakers achieved excellent overall composition balanced on the bold architecture. Elisabeth Stewart fully worked her grand stone house with great precision. She delineated each brown stone, created ten mullioned windows, four chimneys along the gray roofline and worked a detailed surround to the front door, as well as a set of steps leading up to it from the green lawn. The scene is made complete by two large trees with fat pink blossoms, a parade of four-legged animals along the ground and oversized birds on the treetops. A smattering of initials mingles with the birds and continue up along the imagery that frames Elisabeth’s text: Exodus Chapter XX. The initials belong to Miss Stewart’s family members.

Elisabeth was born August 19, 1816 to John Stewart and Mary Paul as the second of their six children. Above the house on her sampler are a pair of crowns with each of her parent’s initials and four of the five siblings’ initials stitched in a boxed on one side of the peak of the roof. Mirrored on the other side is another box enclosing the name Mrs. Mitchel, likely Elisabeth’s teacher.

In a bottom register of Miss Stewart’s work, are three other framed names: Miss Watson and Miss Smith and Miss C. Smith who were probably her classmates. Another delightful scene was stitched here, as well, featuring a woman holding a reticule and flowers and a man with a cane. Additional trees, animals, flowers and overstuffed baskets complete this tier of her composition.

A rhythmic trefoil vine frames the sampler on all four side, along with wording to cap the top and bottom. Along the top Elisabeth stitched the poignant aphorism “Neither do nor say to man whateer [sic] you would not take again,” and her inscription at the bottom completes her work: “Elisabeth Stewart Aged 11 1828 Born The 19 Augest 1816 Edinburgh.”

Worked in silk on wool, the sampler remains in excellent condition with two minor secured areas to the wool – one along the right framework of the Exodus text and the other in the outermost top left corner. It has been conservation mounted and is now in a fine beveled maple frame.

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