This is an exquisitely embroidered piece of early embroidery. The young lady is relaxing beneath a tree of hundreds of leaves finely embroidered in chenille silk floss. The color palate for the leaves, of teal blue, pale yellow, gold, silver and a chartreus type of green literally lights up the background.
The effect of the girl against the myriad leaves borders on magical. Indeed, the whole embroidery has a dream-like quality to it.
On the right side, the shrubbery was intricately done in French knots and padded stitches. The young lady herself was stitched in long stitches in a creamy ivory silk floss with a golden hue to it. It is difficult to decipher how the stitcher was able to curve the thread so that her gown appears rounded in places. Her private thoughts seem to be distracting her attention from the open book she has been reading.
On the end of a long ribbon is an adorable small dog stitched in brown and cream silk. The grass below was done in silk chenille, adding a wonderful texture to the piece. Mostly all of the oval was stitched, except for a short blank piece of silk to the right of the embroidery. As was the style of the time, her face, hands and feet were done in watercolor as were her curly locks of hair.
It is housed in its original wood and gesso frame with beaded detail around the edge. The gilded frame was bronzed at a later date, but the small narrow curved edge of the frame seems to have retained its original gilding, having turned a pretty, soft lemon yellow color. Bronzing of gilded frames was popular at later dates as families wanted the pieces to blend better with their current decor.
The back of the piece has an original hand-written inscription and decoration in sepia that is difficult to read. Some of the letters appear to read “Hariet.”
The condition of the silkwork is excellent condition, with no insect damage or staining; no doubt due to the wood and paper backing that protected it for over 200 years. The frame is in excellent condition for its age. There is a small older loss of gesso toward the top, plus some loss of gilding along the edges. Later bronzing may have helped maintain the original gesso work.
It measures 7-1/2 inches wide by 9-1/8 inches high, including the frame.
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