Rachel Downs, age 10
This piece is more than a typical Scottish house sampler!
Rachel starts the sampler with an inventive floral garland with a variety of birds and what we like to think is a wasp nest dangling in the center. Her signature is flanked by the date she completed the sampler and just a few of the familial initials (RM, ML, JB, JJ, ED, WD, ED, GD, WD, ID, DD) that allowed us to identify Rachel successfully. Beneath this is what is essentially a row of floral motifs and more birds and initials.
Rachel's house is quite detailed and we get a feel for the stones of the house and tiles of the roof. The tri-coloured chenille lawn is contained with a distinctive fence. To either side of the house Rachel has flowering trees seemingly growing out of planter boxes. A pair of peacocks flanks additional family initials. Along the bottom a traditional row of trees with a variety of long-necked dogs is resting on an unusual geometric band. Around all four sides of the sampler is a variation on the typical strawberry border, with all four corners squared and filled. This was a simple solution to prevent the border from not meeting up exactly in each corner.
Sadly this sampler has serious condition issues, moths do love wool, but it has been conserved and stabilized.
Size (W x H): 13 1/2 x 18 inches
Stitches: Cross, satin, back
Media: Silk and chenille on wool
On 20 December 1800 William Downs and Elizabeth Laurie baptized a daughter Rachel, who had been born 5 December, in the Parish of Ratho, Midlothian. There were four siblings: Elizabeth (1802); Wilhelmina (1805), George Reid (1806); twins Isabella and William Douglas (1811). An Alexander Kinard, son of Duncan Kinard and Isobel Reid, was christened in Ratho 17 February 1805, within a week of Rachel's sister Wilhelmina.
Rachel married Alexander Kinaird/Kinnaird 13 February 1820 in the Parish of Kirkliston. The registration indicates that the couple had previously had an "irregular"marriage. They had four children, all registered in Ratho: William Downs (May 1820), John (1824), Marion (1826) and George Downs (1831). We can find no further trace of the family.
1811 RaCheL DOWns AGeD 10
(This sampler was added to the site on February 15, 2013)