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Perkins Family Coat of Arms
1810-1815
Embroiderer:Attributed to Charlotte Perkins , American, 1790 - 1873
Teacher:Probably taught by Patten school , American, 1785 - 1825
Embroidery; silk and metallic thread, and chenille yarn on a satin-woven silk ground; glass, gilt paint and wood
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 25 5/8 x 21 1/2in. (65.1 x 54.6cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Helen L. Perkins
Gallery Copy: The Perkins family coat of arms is among the largest examples of the Patten school design, extensively highlighted with both gold and silver metallic threads (the silver now darkened with tarnish). The school’s hallmark eagle, spread-winged, padded, and raised, tops the composition, holding a double swag of roses suspended from his beak. The swag of wheat at the bottom glistens with gold metallic thread. A splendid pineapple replaces more commonly seen crest emblems. The graceful and naturalistic treatment of the wheat ears and laurel leaves (or palm fronds) contrasts with the central shield, worked in a combination of gold and silver with fluffy chenille in rich, deep colors. The motto echoes sentiments often seen on samplers—“VIRTUE ALONE / ENNOBLES”—certainly appropriate wisdom for a proper young lady’s upbringing.
Description: Perkins Family Coat of Arms worked in shades of dark medium and light green, blue green, cream, red and white silk thread, brown, blue and green chenille yarn, and silver and gold metallic threads, on a cream satin-woven silk ground, using a satin stitch and other stitches. At the top is a silver eagle with outstretched wings clutching a swagged garland of roses and leaves in its beak. Below this is a pineapple at the top of a tapered shield. The shield, sewn with silver metallic thread and chenille yarn, contains a chevron with a lion above and three horse's heads below. The shield is surrounded by a wreath of laurels. Beneath the shield are three banners; two contain the hand-written ink inscription of "VIRTUE ALONE" and "ENNOBLES", while the third is embroidered in metallic thread with "PERKINS". At the bottom is a curved stalk holding wheat embroidered in gold metallic thread. The eagle, lion and each horse's head are stitched in relief with a padded satin stitch. The coat of arms is in its original gold painted wooden frame; the frame has ogee molding that contains a rope-twist strand. Stitches: The principal stitch on the sampler is the long and short stitch; it also includes padded satin, and encroaching satin. Condition: The needlework has been re-matted and re-installed in its original wooden frame. The silk threads are faded slightly.
Attribution Note: The silk needlework is attributed to the Patten school because the motif of an eagle clutching a garland in its beak are common to embroideries and paintings done by students of the Patten School in Hartford. (Hunt 2/7/2007)
Inscription: Beneath the shield are three banners; two contain the hand-written ink inscription of "VIRTUE ALONE" and "ENNOBLES", while the third is embroidered in metallic thread with "PERKINS".
Object Number: 1949.5.0
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