Margaret McAlpine,

Margaret McAlpine,

Glasgow, Scotland, 1798

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sampler size: 16¾” x 12½” • framed size: 21½” x 17¼” • sold

This handsome, finely stitched sampler evidences the classic characteristics of the Scottish samplermaking tradition. Notable are the beautifully formed uppercase alphabets with curlicues and the color palette predominated by reds and greens. Another significant element of Scottish samplers is the incorporation of family names or initials. Margaret McAlpine, stitching her sampler in 1798 when she was twelve, noted each of her parents’ names, Daniel McAlpine and Marion Graham, crowned and cartouched in a budding vine. These flank her own inscription, which is enclosed in a sawtooth framework along with a biblical quote. Additional elements: potted flowers, a distinctly Scottish pine tree, an overstuffed basket and more fill the bottom register of Margaret’s sampler.

Margaret was born in 1787 in Glasgow as the seventh of twelve children of Daniel and Marion. While it remains unknown as to what field Daniel worked in, it seems he did some travelling back and forth between Scotland and the United States, specifically North Carolina. Noted in one timeline posted about his lfe, in 1774 he had three sons born in Cumberland, North Carolina, perhaps with Marion Graham; he was 21 years old. At age 26 he married Marion Graham in Glasgow, Scotland and together they have listed twelve children including those born in North Carolina. In Daniel’s same timeline, in 1792, he returns to North Carolina at age 40 and weds Catherine Isabell Munn and has at least one additional child. Other children were born after this in Glasgow to Marion Graham and Daniel dies at age 56 in 1808 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Margaret’s mother Marion dies in 1817. Margaret herself is noted in an 1861 census, at the age of 74, living with her sister in Kilmeny, Argyll. She died that same year.

At some point a proud owner of Miss McAlpine’s sampler had it beautifully framed in Edinburgh, as evidenced by the original labelled backboard (image below) that accompanies the sampler. The work itself is in very good condition with some very minor loss, specifically to the red surround of the large letter D. It is worked in wool on wool and has been conservation mounted into its original frame with gilt liner.

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