Children playing with their pets was a popular theme in the 18th and 19th centuries for stitchers of embroidery pictures. This charming scene combines is one of these, however, the stitcher who created it added so much character to the scene with her expertise with her needle and thread.
The children are stitched in long and short stitches, complete with collars, shoes, buttons and socks. The pet donkey, who just threw off one of the group and his pet cat, is protesting being ridden. The donkey is also stitched in long and short stitches, with special attention to the mane, tail and bridle.
However, it is the stitching of the background of the shrubs surrounding the scene that is perhaps even more attention-grabbing than the adorable scene. It is entirely comprised of generous raised stitches of French knots. These were done with multi- strands of silk floss to give them a raised appearance.
Although most of the scene was stitched in silk floss, the boys’ faces and the sky were painted in watercolor, as was the fashion of the day.
It is framed in an antique gilded frame with a large beaded border. There is a gilded mat keeping the silkwork away from the glass.
This more-than-two-century-old vignette is in excellent overall condition, with a small loss on the head of one of the children as well as a minor split on another child’s face. There also is a small split in the sky above the child’s hat. The embroidery itself is in excellent condition with good color retention of the subtle pastel colors. The frame is in excellent condition as well. There are some paint losses on the sides of the frame, but as these are not seen, it doesn’t interfere with one’s enjoyment of the piece.
It measures 10-1/8 inches wide by 9-3/4 inches high, including the frame.