Henreta Davidson

Scottish Samplers

Henreta Davidson


Dalziel, Lanarkshire


We enjoy these samplers that are chock full of traditional Scottish motifs. While there is a fair amount of thread loss, it is beautifully stitched and the colour remains very bright. At the top is a wide pansy band, placed within the floral outer border. In the center of the pansy band Henreta has made space for an Adam & Eve vignette, complete with apples and other animals. The verse is one of our personal favorites; the misspellings make it even more charming.

Familial names and initials (John Davidson, Elizabeth Selkrige, Shusana Davidson, John Davidson, ID, MB, IS, IS, MCT, HH, PG, PN, EN, WL) follow along with her signature, leaving the bottom portion of the sampler for a collection of spot motifs. The motifs include a pair of peacocks on separate lawn islands, the fountain of life, a thistle, a rose, a rampant lion and, most importantly, the three-peaked building with the man in period dress in the entrance. This rendition of the building is most unusual; while it has the blue slate roof typical of Scottish samplers, it has far too many windows. The windows appear to have been filled with black thread, much of which is now missing.

Size (W x H): 16 x 16 3/4 inches

Stitches: Cross, alternating reverse cross, cross-over-one, satin, double running, back, continental

Media: Silk on linen


Henreta lists her parents as John Davidson and Elisabeth Selkrige. We confirmed that a John and Elizabeth Selkirk married 22 September 1754 in Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire. Their first daughter, Sussannah followed soon after and was christened 6 October 1754. A son, John, was born in Dalserf, Larnark, in 1758. Henreta/Henrietta was the last child we can find records of, christened 20 July 1760 in Dalziel. The family must have moved from the area as all records cease after Henrietta's birth. No records could be found of the family in Lanark after 1775.


Shine Lovely Maid in NeedLe Work But Shine not only There
Know Thou That for thy self Most A Better Place PrePare
Let they Works only Give thee Praise Be sure Shune Flattery
Thy revin sertain if thou Run With You and Vanity

Henreta Davidson sewed this Sampler Glasgow March 1775

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(This sampler was added to the site on February 15, 2013)