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Bed Curtains
about 1770
Embroiderer:Attributed to Prudence Geer , American, 1735 - 1822
Hand-stitched embroidery; crewel wool on plain-woven linen; woven tape
Primary Dimensions (height x width of bedcurtain .a): 79 1/2 x 42 3/4in. (201.9 x 108.6cm) Primary Dimensions (height x width of bedcurtains .b): 78 1/2 x 41in. (199.4 x 104.1cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Newton C. Brainard
Gallery Copy: Preserved together for over two centuries, this set of crewel-embroidered bed hangings is part of a remarkable collection of Punderson family papers, needlework, and furnishings now at the Connecticut Historical Society. The ensemble is a feast for the eyes—a riotous display of flowers, fruits, thick undulating vines, large and small birds, and an occasional butterfly or insect. While different from each other, the curtains and valances cohere through use of ground fabrics, colors, stitches, and individual motifs. The same elements recur from piece to piece, but look different by continual variation in color, placement, and stitches.
Description: Pair of narrow bed curtains, part of a set of bed hangings consisting of two bed curtains (.a, .b), a headcloth (.c), three valances (.d-.f), a pillowcase (.g) and a fragment (.h). The bed hangings are hand-stitched with crewel, or two-ply worsted wool, on a plain-woven linen ground. The wool on these bedhangings is in many colors, including red, pink, dark medium and light blue, blue-green, light green, dark green, gold, yellow, tan, and cream. The bed curtains and valances are decorated with large and small birds, undulating vines, leaves and flowers. Each bed curtain is rectangular, oriented vertically. Each has a dense field of undulating and dividing vines with leaves, flowers, fruit and berries. One bed curtain (.b) has a large bird, in shades of red, with a fan-shaped tail imitating peacock feathers. Each bed curtain has one small bird. One bed curtain (.a) has small flying insects. Each bed curtain is constructed of two panels of plain-woven linen that were hand-stitched together prior to the embroidery. Each bed curtain has a selvedge on the left side and a 3/16-inch double-turned hem on the top, bottom, and right side. Stitches: The principal stitch on each bed curtain is outline; stitches also include encroaching satin, roumanian (oriental), long and short, darning, herringbone, bullion, buttonhole, daisy, long-armed cross, and rice. Condition: Small areas of crewel wool are missing from scattered areas on each bed curtain. Significantly more crewel wool is missing from the bottom of bed curtain .a. The ground of each bed curtain has scattered light brown stains. The ground of bed curtain .b has two small holes. At one time a wide hem was folded and stitched on the right and left side of bed curtains .a and .b respectively; the bed curtains were sewn together to possibly form a bedspread. An additional wide hem was added to the right side of bed curtain .b. The bed curtains have been detached and the hems completely or partially unstitched.
Object Number: 1962.28.2a,b
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