Connecticut River Valley (?): Ca. 1800-30. This sewn landscape features a ruin in the foreground, overshadowing farm buildings and hills in the background, with a water body. The composition is a bit awkward, but is informed by some of Thomas Cole's paintings. The ruins bear a resemblance to those in Cole's "A View near Tivoli (Morning) 1832 and the largest building in the foreground of "View of Florence from San Miniato" 1837. The background of the silk canvas is painted to resemble dawn with a skillful blending of colors from peach to blue. The stitches used include satin stitch, back stitch and seed 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 3/8 x 9 3/8", needle work visible; 14 x16" in archival frame. Silk thread, watercolor and ink on silk. Overall a very good example of early 19th century silk needlework, with a slightly awkward perspective, indicating a schoolgirl's work. 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 #26402