Nancy Harkness, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1831

Nancy Harkness, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1831

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sampler size: 16¾” x 15½” • framed size: 20½” x 19¼” • price: $2600

The house and lawn samplers of Scotland, as a group, are wonderfully appealing and beautifully made. Along with its pink house with red and blue windows, airy trees and thistle branches, this fine sampler includes whimsical, little figures and animals. The plush, variegated chenille lawn deserves special mention, as well: this type of lawn appears on other fine Sottish samplers, some of which can be found within the outstanding collection, antiquesamplers.org.

The maker signed it in the rectangle just beneath the lawn, “Nancy Harkness Aged 10 years 1831,” and the many family initials lead to the identification of Nancy as the daughter of Walter and Ann (McLean) Harkness. She was born in 1821 and records indicate that her father was a teacher. The 1841 census shows Nancy living with her family about 40 miles south of Edinburgh, and working as a straw hat maker. She remained single and died in 1900.

Worked in silk on linen, the sampler is in excellent condition with some very minor loss to a few stitches and some slight darkening to the linen. It has been conservation mounted and is in its original beveled frame. 

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