We hardly know where to begin -- this piece is just that amazing! Elizabeth has filled this sampler with a plethora of motifs that are well executed and together represent her many talents. The large, stylized swan can be seen in many other Scottish samplers, but Elizabeth's rendition is exceptional. In addition to the swan, take note of the complexities within the Adam & Eve, peacocks, crowns, deer, trees, sheep, ships, etc.! We have not seen forests depicted in this fashion in any previous samplers. Every inch has something new, but the entire sampler is well balanced and consistent.
The elegant, three-storied manor house has a grand entry way, decorative finials (the red things) on the roof, window panes and well stitched quoins along the corners. We are at a quandary about whether the central section of the house is truly unfinished or just an interesting design choice. Compared to the rest of the house it is very sparsely stitched.
As with the rest of the sampler, Elizabeth has designed a border that is complex, colourful, and unusual, creating an undulating pattern of two different flowers that frames the sampler within.
Familial initials: IC, JC, JC, JC, JC, BF, NL, CS, EM
Size (W x H): 17 3/4 x 21 3/4 inches
Stitches: Cross, satin, double running, cross-over-one, Queen's
Media: Silk on linen
The Cowper named is often also spelled Couper/Coupar. Elisabeth Couper was born 28 January and christened 5 February 1809 in Auchterarder, Perthshire, the daughter of James and Jean Couper. Siblings included Jean (1812), James (1814) and Jean #2 (1816).
Elisabeth married William Dow, a farmer, 11 July 1834 in Auchterarder. They had six children: Jane (1835), Margaret (1837), Elizabeth (1839), John (1841), Helen Mary (1846) and William (1849). A widowed Elisabeth died in a bank building in 1881 of cardiac arrest.
Self to self and God to man reveal'd
Two themes to nature's eye forever seal'd
Are taught by rays that fly with equal pace
From the same centre of enlightning grace
Elisabeth Cowper Auchterarder 1824
Remember death for you most die
God is light God is love
(This sampler was added to the site on February 15, 2013)
Elisabeth's verse is an excerpt from the poem Charity, written in 1781 by William Cowper. At this point we have been unable to determine the familial relationship between the two, if there is any at all. William Cowper is more known for co-authoring of the Olney Hymns with his friend John Newton -- the most famous of which is Amazing Grace.
Auchterarder is a small town located north of the Ochil Hills in Perth and Kinross, Scotland, and home to the famous Gleneagles Hotel. The 1.5 mile long High Street of Auchterarder gave the town its popular name of "Lang Toon". In 1834, a controversy over patronage in the selection of a parish minister was the first in a chain of events which would ultimately lead to the 1843 schism in the Church of Scotland. The remains of this church