Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Scottish House Samplers from the Whitman Sampler Collection

Currently in Gallery 271 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art there is a special exhibition of 10 Scottish samplers from the 18th and 19th centuries entitled Embroidered Exemplars. The sampler above is particularly interesting since it depicts Stob Cross Mansion. Below you can see the real house. Note the two-storied bay window to the right in both images.
Stob Cross Mansion was bought by Mr. John Phillips, a native of Kent in England who was a merchant in Glasgow. By his wife, Mary Martin, he left a numerous family. One daughter, Margaret married Alexander Smith, merchant, and she may have been the mother of the Susannah Gillies Smith who worked this sampler.

Other houses seen on Scottish samplers may also be the family homes of the stitcher, though many of the styles so closely conform to the pattern that we may be looking at one or two schools worked by a mumber of girls - another avenue for some intensive research!

The exhibition is being held to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the founding of Whitman's Chocolates and the 100th anniversary of the Whitman Sampler chocolate box. Whitman’s was established in Philadelphia in 1842 by a 19-year-old Quaker named Stephen F Whitman. The company soon became known for its famous Sampler assortments, the cover of which was based on a cross-stitched sampler that hung in the home of company president Walter Sharp in the early 1900s.
To see these and the other samplers click here.

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