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Admiral Digby Museum


Accession number: 1980.25.36b
Category: Art
Date: August 15 1853 – June 11 1948
Materials: Fibre
Measurements: 36 cm L x 28 cm Wmeasurements taken with frame
Signature: Mary Waters
Marks/Label: Stitched on the sampler is the alphabet in two sets of uppercase letters; below is one set of lowercase letters. The alphabet stitched in cursive style is below with ‘Mary Waters’ stitched at the bottom.
Narrative: Born August 15, 1853 in Digby to Captain Thomas Waters and Amaret Dakin, Mary married William Sawry Gilpin in Eastport, Maine on September 2, 1876. Mary and William had five children: William, Bernard, Mary, Charlotte, and Henry. She passed away in Digby on June 11, 1948 at the age of ninety-four. The word ‘sampler’ derives from the Latin word ‘exemplum’ meaning copy. By the sixteenth century, the Latin had been corrupted to saumpler, sampler, or exemplar. Early versions of samplers were pieces of cloth containing samples of various types of stitches; these exemplars were exchanged across Europe and the Middle East. By the sixteenth and seventeenth century, band samplers were in fashion; narrow bands of cloth were decorated with animals, flowers, and geometric patterns using a variety of stitches in different colours. Needlework depicting religious verses also became common in the seventeenth century; during this time, it was taught as an activity that encouraged virtue. By the nineteenth century, samplers were often classroom activities for young females; the embroidered pieces were used for instruction on religion, geography, English, and mathematics. The samplers depicted alphabets, numbers, maps, and religious verses most often in using cross-stitches and backstitches. In addition, samplers were made to commemorate important events such as weddings or births or to record family trees. Mary married William Sawry Gilpin, son of Dr. John Bernard Gilpin and Charlotte Smith.
Description: A sampler with alphabet, numbers, and artist’s name included. It has a checker-board pattern border; the name "Mary Waters" is stitched on the bottom

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