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Needlework sampler on woollen evenweave fabric featuring boats and the text

Needlework sampler on woollen evenweave fabric featuring boats and the text 'Botany Bay'

Object type
Textile samplers

Object number

A needlework sampler on cream woollen evenweave fabric with motifs in rows as well as letters and words. The sampler stitches include cross stitch, satin stitch, stem stitch, couching, seed stitch and free style embroidery. The top row contains two framed rows of letters grouped in twos, probably initials. Below this is a row of six trees with a rabbit between each one, a small house in the centre, and a dog at each end. The house has a red door and a central chimney on a hipped roof and four flying birds above it. The segment below this has small motifs including two insects, two birds, two lions, a crown, two flower like motifs and a central vase with flowers. The row below the centre shows a tall ship and two smaller vessels, one of which has two people in it. At the left are building like structures with flags at the top, and three figures in in three archways. Above the ship is the text 'BOTANY BAY'. Between this and the bottom segment is a line of words which reads 'MARGRET BEGBIE A 10 MRS LAWDER'. The bottom segment has a rectangular house with a hipped roof and a central pointed gable, flanked by two trees, two birds, two peacocks and two flowers. The sampler has a zig zag border with pink and white thistle motifs and a chequerboard square in each corner.

Collection name
Needlework Sampler collection

Collection statement of significance
The Needlework Sampler collection comprises a sampler made by Margret Begbie, a 10 year old girl from Scotland. The sampler depicts an image of Botany Bay, New South Wales in the early years of settlement. The word 'BOTANY BAY' appears above two sailing ships flying the English naval flag alongside two men in a row boat and a wharf with three figures standing in archways.

Samplers were developed as a way of recording and learning embroidery stitches and played an important part in the process of educating young girls in the most feminine skills, plain and fancy needlework. Margret's sampler dates 1790 - 1840 based on stylistic analysis of the imagery used in the needlework. The peacocks in pride in the lower third of the sampler were popular in Scotland during the 18th & 19th centuries. Birds in matching pairs and the embroidered coronet and initials representing nobility or sign of affection were also popular during this period. Houses were most common in the 19th century; it was usual for a house and a cottage to be worked on one sampler, especially those which included a rural scene. Cottages were usually given one chimney. The term 'Botany Bay' stopped being used as a reference to the colony by the 1830s. The Botany Bay scene was probably used as part of a lesson in geography or history and relates strongly to the descriptions, objects and information flowing back to a curious Britain from the colonies; rather than Margret's personal connection to it.

Wool - non specific

Width: 340mm
Height: 395mm
Depth: 3mm

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