Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | Licence: Public Domain
Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | Licence: Public Domain

Memorial Embroidered Picture

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From the Collection


Death came early to three Davis sisters, who are believed to have been residents of Kittery, Maine. In this painted and needleworked picture, one surviving sister commemorated their short lives. This work follows iconographic traditions associated with an extensive surviving group of schoolgirl embroideries from the Portland area. Characteristic features include a seaside village; large, bold, foreground flowers; a winged, cherublike head; and extensive verse.

Technical notes: The outlines are drawn with pencil on a tabby-weave silk ground. Black wash is applied. The inscription is printed in ink by a professional printer. The embroidery is worked. Watercolors were painted last. The face is painted on paper and applied to the picture instead of being painted directly on the silk, as is more usual. Silk chenille applied with satin, split, and French knot stitches. The glass and frame are original.

Book excerpt: David B. Warren, Michael K. Brown, Elizabeth Ann Coleman, and Emily Ballew Neff. American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection. Houston: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.

Descriptive Medium: Silk, ink, paper, and watercolor

Image Licence

Image Credit

Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

From the Watercolour World


Kittery, Maine, USA