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Needlework Picture
1820
Embroiderer:Embroidered by Hannah Boardman , American, 1807 - 1891
Embroidery; floss, silk thread, chenille yarn, paper and paint on an undyed plain-woven cotton ground; glass, wood
Primary Dimensions (height x width of frame): 28 x 33 1/2in. (71.1 x 85.1cm)
Credit Line: Gift of William Mason Holmes, Frances Holmes Boothby, and Alice Ovilla Holmes, great grandchildren of Hannah Boardman Holmes
Gallery Copy: Thirteen-year-old Hannah Boardman’s work combines elements from two separate needlework genres: cross-stitched text from the sampler tradition, and satin-stitched flowers and landscape from the silk-embroidered picture tradition. Her landscape centers on a wide, slightly curving river, which flows directly toward the viewer from a red building in the far distance, apparently a dockside warehouse. On the right bank stands an imposing five-bay mansion with front gable and four white columns; on the left bank is a barn or shed. The paper boat traversing the river closely resembles the Fulton, the first steamboat to reach Hartford, arriving to much fanfare and curiosity in mid-May 1815. Hannah and her family may well have been among the more than 7,000 visitors reported to have boarded the Fulton during its two-day visit.
Description: Needlework picture worked in dark medium and light green, medium and light brown, medium and light blue, tan, khaki, white, red floss, black silk thread, blue, white and brown chenille yarn, and appliqué painted paper and paint on an undyed plain-woven cotton ground, using satin stitch and other stitches. The needlework picture is rectangular, oriented horizontally. It is laid out with flowers on a vine draped between two corner bow knots, over a religious verse, over an inscription, over a landscape at the bottom. The religious verse is "FATHER of light and life Thou GOOD SUPRENE [sic]/ O teach me what is good teach me THYSELF./ Save me from folly vanity or vice./ From ev ry [sic] low pursuit and feed my soul./ With Faith with conscious Peace and virtue Pure./ God of all world's Source and Suprme [sic] of things./ From whom all life from whom duration springs./ Intense O let me for thy glory horn./ Nor fruitless view my days and months return./" The inscription is "Hannah Boadman [sic] .. AE .. 13 …….". The landscape shows a house and red barn on a river. A steamboat, constructed of painted paper that is applied to the picture, is on the river; the steamboat has a single mast, waterwheel, and tented area at the back. To the right is a large tree with two applied paper figures below; the figures are of a man and a woman. To the left is a building and tree on a hill. The landscape and swagged floral vine on the needlework picture are worked with floss. The religious verse is worked in silk thread. Small portions of the trees and vegetation, as well as the background in the landscape are painted in dark paint directly onto the ground. Stitches: The principal stitch on the needlework picture is satin stitch; it also includes cross stitch (over one, for the religious verse), outline, and some overlay work. Thread count: approximated 48 warp x 48 weft per inch. Condition: The needlework picture has moderate to significant fading of the silk threads. The glass, frame and backing are replaced.
Subject Note: According to Rich Malley, the CHS curator of technology and a maritime historian, the steamboat depicted on the needlework is possibly the Fulton. The Fulton was the first steamboat to head up the Connecticut River; it did so on election day May 1815. (Hunt 3/29/2007) Source Note: The first five lines of the religious verse are taken from a poem titled "Winter, A Poem" by Scottish poet James Thomson (1700-1748), first published in 1726. Selections from the poem are also included in the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Subject Note: According to Margaret Brockway Ofslager, the sampler verse is identical to an 1817 verse listed on page 317 of Bolton and Coe, American Samplers, 1973. Hannah Boardman added four lines to the end of the verse. (Hudson 4/10/2007) Materials Note: Ground fabric identified as cotton warp and weft per polarized light microscopy performed by Textile Conservation Workshop, November 2009.
Object Number: 1976.33.0
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