c1830 Isabella Milne’s “Love Truth” framed sampler with teacher’s name
Isabella Milne had a little help with her 1830s sampler– the inscription reads “Sew’d by Isabella Milne with E Smith.” Above the inscription are the words “Love Truth” and the initials of family and friends are scattered among the motifs in the lower half (also in two rows above and below the sawtooth border near the middle). The linen is a light brown color with very regular threads.
The thread is a fine twisted silk with a lovey sheen; it’s used throughout except in the basket of fruit in the lower right corner which is partially stitched with a very soft, slightly fuzzy wool yarn. Most of the stitches are worked over two threads but the words in the lower third of the sampler are all worked over a single fabric thread, so they are very delicate. There’s a blue silk thread that is a particularly lovely shade.
The quality of the stitching is quite good but the sampler has some condition issues: there are several dark, discolored blotches throughout, one of which appears to have suffered a cleaning attempt that created a “bleached” effect (lower left corner near border). There are also a few areas of light discoloration to the ground fabric. No stitch loss, only 1 loose thread in the very large “J” in the row of * JM * JS * JS. The sampler has slipped a bit in the frame so you can see the selvedge edge along the very top.
The visible embroidered area measures 7-1/2″ wide by 15-1/4″ long, with the frame measuring 8-1/2″ wide by 16″ long. The wood frame probably dates from the 1950s and has some visible scratches and damage to the lower corners; while it’s not overly attractive, it is structurally sound and ready to hang. The back has two metal eyelets with old wire stretched between them, so you may want to replace them.