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Bed Curtain
1770-1790
Embroiderer:Attributed to Priscilla Kingsbury , American, about 1756 - 1841
Hand-stitched embroidery; crewel wool on plain-weave linen
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 71 1/2 x 33 1/2in. (181.6 x 85.1cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. William Talcott
Gallery Copy: The design of this bed curtain features fourteen separate floral motifs, which show different kinds of flowers blooming from the same stem. Several motifs make use of darning stitches to create a variety of weavelike patterns. This bed curtain is practically reversible, so it looked almost as good from inside the bed as from outside, which of course meant it used more expensive yarn. The horizontal crease at top shows where the curtain was folded to create a casing for the rod to attach to the bed frame. The Kingsbury family had a history of textile making. Both of Priscilla’s grandmothers were descendents of weavers.
Description: Bed curtain hand stitched with crewel, or two ply-worsted wool, on a plain-weave linen ground. The wool is in many colors, including dark medium and light blue, red, medium and light pink, green, khaki, and white. The bed curtain is rectangular, oriented vertically. It has three columns of off-set sprays of flowers, leaves, and berries on short vines. The crewel designs are nearly reversible; they are complete on the back and on the front. The bed curtain is constructed of a single panel of plain-weave linen that has a selvedge on the left and right side and a 1/8-inch double-turned hem at the top and bottom edges; the thread count is approximately 58 warp x 53 weft per inch. Stitches: The principal stitch on the bed curtain is outline; it also includes encroaching satin, satin, padded satin, darning, and flat. Condition: Small areas of crewel wool are missing from scattered spots on the front and back of the bed curtain. The crewel wool has faded unevenly, especially on the back. The ground is yellowed and lightly stained. There are small scattered holes in the ground and evidence of previous creasing.
Object Number: 1844.21.0
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