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Bed Covering
1740-1760
Embroiderer:Possibly embroidered by a member of the Denison Family , American
Hand-stitched embroidery; crewel wool on plain-woven linen; woven wool tape
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 90 x 96 1/4in. (228.6 x 244.5cm)
Credit Line: The Newman S. Hungerford Museum Fund
Gallery Copy: The most remarkable feature of this bedcover is its intact, unaltered condition, retaining its original wool binding tape, scalloped corner cutouts, and even the highly fugitive, bright yellow colors. The bedcover’s colorful birds and patterned vines recur on numerous Connecticut pieces. Too lightweight to provide much comfort on a cold winter night, its primary purpose was to dress the bed, typically the most expensive single furnishing in a pre-Revolutionary home, and the largest surface available for visual display. The spread’s unscathed condition is even more remarkable given its history. According to the last family owner, it had traveled west with her ancestors, from Connecticut to Ohio, Alabama, New Jersey, and finally, back to New England.
Description: Bed covering hand-stitched with crewel, or two-ply worsted wool, on a plain-woven linen ground. The wool on this bed covering is in many bright colors, including red, light medium and dark pink, light medium and dark blue, light medium and dark yellow, light medium an dark green, brown, cream and white. The bed covering is rectangular, oriented horizontally; a tapered section with an undulating edge is cut out of each lower corner to accommodate a bedpost. The center of the bed covering is outlined with a square border of small undulating vines with leaves and flowers. In the center of the border is an abstract eight-petal flower surrounded by leaves. This is surrounded by four substantial undulating vines with leaves that support an inward-pointing bird; the birds on vines are each located at one interior corner of the square border. A smaller vine with leaves and flowers fills the gap between the birds on the interior sides of the square border. Each side and the bottom of the bed covering are decorated with large undulating vines and a variety of vines and colorful flowers. Each edge of the bed covering has yellow woven wool tape that overhangs the edge. The bed covering is constructed of three panels of plain-woven linen that were hand-stitched together prior to embroidery; the panels are 29 1/4, 34 3/8 and 33 3/8 inches wide respectively. Each side of the bed covering has a ¼-inch single-turned hem that is folded toward the front; this is then stitched with the same thread that holds the 5/8-inch wide yellow woven wool tape to the edges of the bed covering. The principal stitch on the bedcovering is outline; it also includes satin, encroaching satin, roumanian (oriental), long and short, buttonhole, herringbone, darning, couching, daisy, seed and bullion. Condition: The colors of the crewel wool are vibrant; there is some minor wear to some areas of the embroidery. The ground is yellowed with a few dark brown spots scattered on the top. Several small areas of the yellow tape have frayed at the outer edge.
Object Number: 2002.40.0
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