Framed Sampler by Jean Denholm
Origin: Great Britain, Probably Scotland
Framed: 12 3/8" x 18 1/4"; Unframed, approx. 10 7/8" x 17 1/4" x 16 1/2"
Wool and silk embroidery threads on a linen ground of 34 x 34 threads per inch
Bequest of May C. Wheelock.
Acc. No. 1995-109,A&B
This is a rectangular sampler worked on a natural-colored linen ground and embroidered with wool threads in shades of purple, red, green, blue, natural, and pink. The ivory-colored thread is silk. The top and bottom edges have selvages and the sides are hemmed.
From the top, the first section of the sampler contains the centered dated "June 30 1814" embroidered in sage green. It is surrounded by seven small bi-colored flowers and cornered by four green fern fronds.This entire dated and decoration is surrounded by a sage green box. To the left of the box is an embroidered iris in green, pink, and purple, and to the right of the box is a tulip worked in natural, green, and red threads
Below the floral decoration and the date are two lines containing the alphabet in upper case, "A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T V W Z." The second line also contains the numbers, "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" and the letters "IB" and "ED".
The second, largest section of the sampler depicts three hills, connected by bridges, as well as, a variety of flora and fauna. On the center hill, there is a castle (or house) worked in natural, pink, red, and blue threads accented with some ivory silk threads. On the left hill, there is an apple tree, and on the right hill, an unidentified tree with purple fruit. Immediately above the castle to the left is a butterfly and to the right is a medium-size bird. Centered above these two motifs is a blue basket filled with fruit or flowers and flanked by parrots worked in green, red, and pink. On the left side of the basket is a sage green urn with a variety of flowers and to the right of the basket is a plant with fruit/flowers, worked in red and natural.
The third section is below the three hills. It consists of a top line of letters, "MD ED ID GD MD GD", with each letter worked in either red or green thread. Below the letters is a decorative wave motif in green thread, and a band of red cross stitch. Beneath these two lines is another decorative band consisting of a green vine with five flowers, two blue, two red and one natural. The third section is separated from the final section by a band of cross stitch and a band of purple zig-zag cross stitch, with ivory thread filling in the gaps. The final section of the sampler contains the signature line, "JEAN DENHOLM" worked in sage green thread. Below the signature are two bi-colored flowers and three crowns, two worked in pink thread and the third in blue.The signature is framed by a sage green box with two fern fronds extending from it. Flanking the box are two large flowers worked in a variety of colors.
The interior decoration of the sampler is surrounded by a border worked in red and natural wool threads. The border consists of circular forms embroidered in red thread and filled with ivory cross stitches. Surrounding the border on both edges are two rows of natural thread, cross stitched.
Stitches: chain, cross, half cross, satin, and stem
Label:Scottish samplers are often distinct in their materials, colors, and motifs. Typical of many Scottish samplers, like this one, is the use of wool embroidery threads rather than the more usual silk threads. Houses representing the needleworker's home or important buildings were popular with Scottish sampler makers. In addition to a prominently place building, Jean Denholm included other popular motifs found on Scottish samplers including crown motifs and family initials. She worked her embroidery in vibrant shades of red and green, also a characteristic of Scottish samplers.
Provenance:The sampler is part of a bequest from the collection of the late May C. Wheelock of Connecticut.
Nothing is known of the samplermaker, Jean Denholm.