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Bed Rug
probably 1778
Embroiderer:Embroidered by Elizabeth Foote , American, 1750 - 1845
Hand-embroidered wool on a plain-woven wool ground
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 82 x 76 3/4in. (208.3 x 194.9cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. J. H. K. Davis
Gallery Copy: This bold, inventive, and eye-catching design of large scrolling vines and flowers (each with a dif erent profile and filled with a different stitch pattern) echoes designs found in earlier English embroidery. Bed covers were some of the largest surfaces available for decoration within homes. A skillfully made bedcover like this by Elizabeth Foote would have been an eye-catching artistic statement. Elizabeth Foote, the maker of this bed rug, kept a diary in which she recorded countless hours devoted to carding, spinning, warping looms, weaving, sewing clothing, knitting, and quilting. This document serves as a testament to the time all types of textile production took in women’s lives.
Description: Bed rug made of light, medium, and dark blue, brown, and undyed homespun wool embroidered on a wool ground. The pattern consists of a basket in the center, with five oversize flowers emerging from it. This is surrounded by a wide border of undulating vines that have twelve oversize flowers and many smaller flowers and leaves. Each flower and leaf is outlined with three shades of blue wool; each leaf, petal, and flower is filled in with geometric patterns worked in blue or brown wool. The background is filled in with vertical lines of undyed wool. The initials "EF" are cross-stitched in brown wool at the top center. The wool is homespun and hand-dyed. Each thread has a single twist; threads are grouped together in sets of four, six, or eight. The bed rug is embroidered entirely with counted darning stitches. The edges of the ground are folded under and finished at each edge with a hem stitch. Condition: The brown wool on whole sections of the bed rug is disintegrating, revealing the wool ground. Some areas of light blue wool are disintegrating. The bed rug is backed with a single plain-woven linen sheet; the sheet is stitched to the bed rug at the edges and is quilted down the bed rug in three evenly-spaced lines.
Inscription: The initials "EF" are cross-stitched at the top center of the bed rug in brown wool.
Object Number: 1959.56.0
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