What makes this sampler so unique is the depiction of a city house common to Glasgow or Edinburgh, as opposed to the more typical country manor styled buildings. Note the open windows and a man standing in the doorway. Two additional figures are on the stairs, also a unique feature. While it is a focal point of the piece, the house itself is relatively small in comparison to the overall size of the sampler. A lovely couple in period dress, a multiple of flowers, birds, crowns, deer and trees are strewn throughout the piece.
Agnes has an unusual placement of parental initials with the first name initial on the left and the surname initial on the right (IF, HM, IM, AF, IF, ER, AF, IF, EF, PF), confirming the names with the actual names placed with her signature (John Fyfe, Helen Morison). Agnes' verse became a popular inscription on tombstones.
Size (W x H): 18 1/4 x 17 3/4 inches
Stitches: Cross, satin, chain, double running
Media: Silk on wool
Agnes was born 1 July 1768 in Paisley, lawful daughter of John Fyfe and Helen Morison.
She married John Lochhead 14 August 1790, also in Paisley. They had eight children: Helen (1791), William (1793), Margaret (1796), James (1800), Agnes (1802), Robert (1804), Matthew (1809) and Robert (1811).
SWEET . SOLITWD . WHEN . LIFES . GAY . HOWRS . ARE . PAST .
HOWEVER . WE . RENGE . IN . DEATH . WE . FIX . AT . LAST .
AGNES . FYFE . SEWED . HER . SAMPLER . IN . THE . YEAR . 1779
(This sampler was added to the site on February 15, 2013)
Agnes' verse is from the poem On The Prospect of Peace by Thomas Tickell (1685-1740). Tickell was a contemporary of Pope and Addison. The stanza in which these lines appear is below; the entire poem is much too long to include:
...And wear each dreadful image from thy breast.
With pleasure, by thy conquests shalt thou see
Thy queen triumphant, and all Europe free.
No cares henceforth shall thy repose destroy,
But what thou giv'st the world, thyself enjoy.
Sweet Solitude! when life's gay hours are past
Howe'er we range, in thee we fix at last:
Tost through tempestuous seas (the voyage o'er)
Pale we look back, and bless thy friendly shore.
Our own strict judges our past life we scan....