Nicola tells us "When we first saw Eliza’s pretty sampler, we were both excited, intrigued, and puzzled. Eliza tells us that she was 13 when she finished her sampler on June 12, 1828 which was a Thursday. George IV sat upon the British throne, he was considered to be “The First Gentleman of Europe” and an object of contempt and ridicule. He was known for his manners and charm but also his drunkenness, spendthrift ways, and scandalous love life. Within her pretty carnation border, there are certain motifs that you only occasionally see in English and Scottish samplers. The Pelican in its Piety takes centre stage and keeps company with The Spies of Canaan, two young ladies dressed in pink “to make the boys wink”, and a manor house with two terriers keeping a lookout. Eliza was certainly imaginative and filled her sampler with an assortment of motifs, including a solitary large black dog, two strutting peacocks, two mischievous squirrels, two resting deer, two parrots, two owls, baskets of fruit, several varieties of flowers in baskets, a tree laden with tempting red apples, a crown, a lion and a unicorn.
There are several motifs that suggest Eliza Johnson was Scottish. The unicorn that Eliza has stitched has long been associated with Scotland, a land famed for its deep history of myths and legends. The unicorn was first used on the Scottish royal coat of arms by William I in the 12th century. In the 15th century, when King James III was on the throne, unicorns appeared on gold coins. When Scotland and England unified under the reign of James VI of Scotland in 1603, the Scottish Royal Arms had two unicorns supporting a shield. When James VI became James I of England and Ireland, he replaced the unicorn on the left of the shield with a lion, the national animal of England to show that the countries were indeed united.
Eliza chose the following verse for her sampler. "If life was a thing That money could buy, The rich they would live But the poor they would die."
Eliza's sampler was reproduced with the beautiful oranges, pinks, and greens we see on the front of her sampler today as the back of the sampler could not be seperated and seen as the linen was too fragile to remove.
Stitch count is 301 W x 393 H.
Model was stitched on 40 count Vintage Pearl Barley hand dyed linen from Lakeside Linens and stitched with silk threads from Soie d'Alger.
We have also listed 36 and 46 count linens as well as 100/3 silk thread and DMC options for stitching with.
Please check the boxes above to add the chart, linen and threads to your order.
Eliza Johnson 1828 from Hands Across the Sea Samplers