Connecticut River Valley (?): Ca. 1800-1830. This is the work of a gifted young woman, most likely based on an actual scene in New England. It is an accomplished painted and sewn composition of a mother handing an apple to her child playing on the bank of a pond. The surrounding countryside includes a large Georgian style 6 bay home with a New England church with tall steeple and a barn. A beautifully detailed willow tree employs four different stitches. The reflection of the buildings and trees in the pond is especially well done, with a three dimensional quality to the stitching on the banks. The large house is a Georgian style with a central doorway, two rows of six windows and two windows on a third floor central peak. The roof is a thatched roof, perhaps a copy of the actual roof, but likely an easier treatment to stitch than brick. The windows are rectangular, again, easier to stitch than an arch. This is the work of a gifted young woman, most likely based on an actual scene in New England. The stitches used include seed stitch, satin stitch and back stitch.
Silk embroidered pictures became very fashionable in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and were taught at private girls schools and ladies' academies as an essential accomplishment. The subject matter was generally drawn from engravings illustrating history, the Bible, mythology or mourning compositions. The image was drawn onto the silk by the teacher or student and a linen border was sewn around the edge of the silk, then nailed or laced to a wooden frame to provide a taut surface for the needle worker. Once the embroidery was complete, the student, teacher or an itinerant artist called a "limner" would paint the faces and the background in watercolors and ink. (1)
Although the artist is unknown, purchase records from Connecticut indicate the origin of the work may be the Connecticut River Valley, an important center for the teaching and production of embroidered pictures by women, when this image may have been executed. (2).
7 5/8 x 10 1/2", needle work visible; 14 x16" in archival frame. Silk thread, watercolor and ink on silk. In very good condition overall. A couple of light water lines, most likely caused by painting in the sky, some brown coloration in the silk near the willow. Possibly laid down. Please note: Due to the fragility of this work, the rear of the embroidered panel has not been exposed and inspected for clues as to provenance.
(1) Huber, Carol; Huber, Stephen; Schoelwer, Susan P.; Lansing, Amy Kurtz. (2011) With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroider from the Connecticut River Valley, 1740-1840. Old Lyme: Florence Griswold Museum. p. 20
(2) Ibid. p. 8. Item #26401