Linlithgow, West Lothian
This sampler would just be considered a typical Scottish house sampler were it not for the two Linlithgow-specific medallions. The left medallion depicts the black bitch and has the words "MY FRUIT IS FIDELITY TO GOD AND THE KING." The right medallion features a thistle with the words "I HAVE POWER TO DEFEND MYSELF & OTHERS". Between the two medallions is her verse, a tribute to her father John, signed with her initials M.D. and listing Mrs. H., who we presume to be her teacher. The same Mrs. H. is listed on H. Buchanan's sampler.
Along the top of the piece are two traditional floral bands, one with pansies and one with roses. Beneath the bands are numerous familial initials, all with crowns (BD, IS, MW, MH, TD, ID, MD, ID, MS, HD, ID, ID, MP, MD). A plethora of motifs, both Scottish and Dutch, fill in most empty space - trees, birds, flowers, a fountain, peacocks and Adam & Eve. Centered at the bottom of the sampler is a pedimented house with a fenced lawn. An additional unusual feature is a traditional Dutch shepherd motif, complete with both black and white sheep.
Size (W x H): 13 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches
Stitches: Cross, cross-over-one, satin, couching, double running, chain, straight, eyelet
Media: Silk on wool
By using the process of elimination and combining the data with what little information we can gather from the companion piece by H. Buchanan, there is only one viable alternative. Mary Duncan was born 1798, the eldest child of John Duncan, flour dealer, and Margaret Shaw from Linlithgow, West Lothian. Siblings included John (1800), Margaret (1801), Thomas (1803), Jean (1804), Marion (1806), Isobel (1808), Agnes (1810), George (1811), Marion #2 (1814) and Joan (1818).
Mary married William Brown in 1833 in Linlithgow. The 1841 Scotland census shows the family is living in "Royal Burgh of Linlithgow" - William is a laborer, children are George (age 7), Mary (age 5), Catherine (age 1) and Mary's brother George. The family is not listed in the 1851 census. Later records for Mary's death led us to presume the family went to live with other relatives following the death of William Brown. Records indicate Mary died of a "rupture" in February 1856; marriage status is listed as "widow" and her death is witnessed by her sister, Jean Roberts.
JOHN DUNCAN MY
Father Dear DID PURC
hAse this which I have
hier MONey it will soon
Be spent But Edication
Is ExeLent Mrs H MD 10
MY FRUIT IS FIDELITY TO GOD AND the KING 18
I hAV POWer TO DEfeND MYSELF & OThers