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Milking Scene Needlework
Embroiderer:Attributed to Faith Trumbull , American, 1743 - 1775
After a work by:After a work by Nicholaas Pietersz Berchem , Dutch, 1620 - 1683
After a work by:After a work by Cornelis Visscher , Dutch, 1629 - 1658
Embroidery; silk and metallic threads, ink and paint on a satin-woven silk ground; linen string, wood strainer, iron nails
Primary Dimensions (height x width of strainer): 15 5/8 x 18 3/8in. (39.7 x 46.7cm) Primary Dimensions (height x width of frame): 17 1/4 x 20 1/4in. (43.8 x 51.4cm) Other (height x width inside frame): 14 3/4 x 17 1/2 in. (37.5 x 44.5cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Jonathan Trumbull Rogers, in memory of Eleanor Root Silliman Rogers; The Newman S. Hungerford Museum Fund
Gallery Copy: This pastoral scene by Faith Trumbull Huntington show that European images were available in colonial America and that needleworkers studied, adapted, and transmitted these high-art models. It also testifies to the efforts of an aspiring artist, whose techniques— using silk thread to suggest the fluidity of brush work and inserting painted heads and hands—became widely popular in American embroidery only decades later. This small milking scene, believed to be the earliest of three needleworks by Faith Trumbull, is based very closely on a seventeenth-century Dutch engraving. Small details transform what was a European market scene into an American country ideal with a few updates—the barefoot peasant woman in the print now sports black, buckled shoes and a shimmering red and gold dress.
Description: Needlework picture worked in shades of gold, brown, blue, green and red silk threads worked primarily in a satin stitch on a pale blue satin-woven silk ground; the picture includes hand-painted hair, faces, arms and hands on female figures in the picture. The picture depicts an allegorical view of a milking scene in a summer landscape. Slightly to the left of center is a standing woman wearing a red and cream striped dress; she holds a basket of flowers in her right hand and has a large flat basket, or hat, with emerging flowers, grapes and grapevines balanced on her head. She has a shoe buckle worked in metallic thread. To the left are three seated sheep and a goat. To the right of the standing woman, a woman kneels down with a bucket to milk a standing cow; she is wearing a light beige dress with a similarly colored mop cap. To the right of the standing cow is a seated one. In the distance is a small sailing vessel on a pond surrounded by large and small trees. The sky consists of the unembroidered light blue satin-woven silk ground. The needlework has selvedges at the top and bottom edges, each including four flat metal wire warps. The light blue satin-woven silk is stretched horizontally in the warp direction. A linen string is laced around the edges of the silk ground to tension the fabric ground around the original strainer. The needlework picture is inside of a black painted wooden frame (replaced) with a carved and gilded band at the interior and exterior edges. Stitches: The principal stitch on the picture is the satin stitch; it also includes encroaching satin, seed, stem, whip, couching, and split. The needlework picture includes some laid work. Condition: The gouache is cracked, but not flaking. The lacing threads have been stabilized and re-tensioned. A band of woven silk ribbon is added to each side of the needlework; this is used to join the needlework to the strainer. The needlework picture is re-installed in a replaced frame. The glass is replaced.
Source Note: The two female figures in this needlework picture are taken from an engraving of a milking scene by Cornelis Visscher after Nicolaas Berghem (1620-1686). The design source is discussed in Nancy Graves Cabot, "Engravings As Pattern Sources, I, Embroideries of Three Faith Trumbulls" in The Magazine Antiques (December 1950), p. 477, fig. 5. (Hunt 12/8/2006)
Object Number: 1999.70.0
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