Of all the antique samplers I have seen and studied, Scottish samplers are my favorites...the vibrant colors, unique symbolism and decorative alphabets make them unique in the sampler world.
There are a few ways to distinguish a Scottish sampler from an English or European one of the same era. The most obvious one being the pairs of initials that are a almost always present. A Scottish woman retained her maiden name after she was married...on many of these samplers you will find pairs of initials joined by a heart...those of husband and wife. Also there may be others...of children and other family members.
Some Scottish samplers are done in only two shades of [most often with these] crewel wool...red and green. The reason for this is not known for sure, but may be an influence from Friesland, which was an important trading partner of Scotland.
Another striking feature of Scottish samplers are the decorative alphabets...letters embellished with back-stitched (or double-running stitch) outlines and curly-qs are eye-catching, and one of the things that attract me most to these embroideries. These alphabets are also evidence of the Freisian influence.
Other symbols that may identify a sampler as being of Scottish origins are peacocks, tulips, arcaded bands and Scottish thistles and inscriptions, many including family coats of arms...
The sampler shown above is a reproduction from The Scarlet Letter (late 18th century)...
There are also other styles of Scottish samplers from other eras...all are beautiful...all make me want to stitch them...ttfn enjoy your stitching!