Embroidered Stories: Scottish Samplers will showcase a small selection of embroideries drawn from over 500 Scottish samplers in the collection of Leslie Durst – an American with a passion for Scotland.

#ScottishSamplers

Dating from the early 18th to the late 19th century, these embroidered pictures were made by girls (and occasionally boys) as part of their education.

Scottish samplers are unique with regard to the amount of information that can be gathered from them. They often include the initials of extended family members as well as details of buildings, places and events, leading to the identification of almost all of these young embroiderers. In some cases, years of meticulous research has revealed their unique stories. The Durst collection is, therefore, a truly unique record of two centuries of Scottish social history.

Generously on loan from the Leslie B. Durst Collection.

  • Maern Kedglie, from Inveresk, represented the neighbouring town of Musselburgh in her sampler, using the town’s coat of arms of three anchors and three mussels. © © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    Maern Kedglie, from Inveresk, represented the neighbouring town of Musselburgh in her sampler, using the town’s coat of arms of three anchors and three mussels. © © Leslie B. Durst Collection
  • This alphabet sampler has been left unfinished. It is one of a collection of samplers created by the Swan and Ballingal families © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    This alphabet sampler has been left unfinished. It is one of a collection of samplers created by the Swan and  Ballingal families © Leslie B. Durst Collection
  • May Robert has incorporated biblical scenes from the story of Elijah into her sampler. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    May Robert has incorporated biblical scenes from the story of Elijah into her sampler. © Leslie B. Durst Collection
  • Isabella Cook’s sampler is one of a pair both depicting a zebra. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    Isabella Cook’s sampler is one of a pair both depicting a zebra. © Leslie B. Durst Collection
  • It is possible A McGilliy embroidered a shortened version of her surname, which may have been McGillivray. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    It is possible A McGilliy embroidered a shortened version of her surname, which may have been McGillivray. © Leslie B. Durst Collection
  • Catherine Monro’s multiplication sampler reflects the type of schooling she received. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    Catherine Monro’s multiplication sampler reflects the type of schooling she received.  © Leslie B. Durst Collection
  • Agnes Henry's sampler is unusual in that it is stitched on paper and made with coloured beads rather than conventional embroidery thread. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    Agnes Henry's sampler is unusual  in that it is stitched on paper and made with coloured beads rather than conventional embroidery thread.  © Leslie B. Durst Collection
  • Margaret Alexander’s sampler, made during the Napoleonic Wars, includes portraits of three British army regiments. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

    Margaret Alexander’s sampler, made during the Napoleonic Wars, includes portraits of three British army regiments. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

Header image: Margaret Alexander’s sampler, made during the Napoleonic Wars, includes portraits of three British army regiments. © Leslie B. Durst Collection

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Event
Curator Tour: Scottish Samplers

Join curator Helen Wyld to learn more about this fascinating exhibition on a guided tour.
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Samplers collection
Antique Samplers

An online museum that houses a collection of 1000+ antique needlework samplers from Europe and America.
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Exhibition information

When

26 Oct 2018 - 21 Apr 2019
10:00-17:00

Where

National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh - Exhibition Gallery 2, Level 3

How much

Free

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