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The Cottage Girl.
1802
Embroiderer:Embroidered by Nancy Hale , American, 1785 - 1808
Teacher:Taught by Sarah Pierce , American, 1767 - 1852
Embroidery; silk thread, metallic thread, and chenille yarn on a plain-woven silk ground; paint; glass, plexiglass, wood
Primary Dimensions (height x width): 22 x 19in. (55.9 x 48.3cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Ada Louise Taylor
Gallery Copy: “The Cottage Girl” depicts a popular 18th century heroine—a virtuous young lady reduced to poverty, but ultimately saved from further misfortune when a wealthy man recognizes her as the long-lost daughter of a dear friend, and rescues her. Painted and embroidered elements add texture and pleasing detail and depth to the figure, house, and landscape. The image of the barefoot girl foraging for firewood and berries contrasts the expensive silk and gold stitches worked diligently by privileged young ladies at Miss Pierce’s school in Litchfield. Nancy’s needlework is but one of two known depictions of “The Cottage Girl” done at the school at this time.
Description: Needlework picture worked in tan; light, medium and dark green; blue-green; light, medium and dark blue; brown, cream, khaki, and white silk thread, gold metallic thread, and brown and black chenille yarn on a plain-woven silk ground, using satin stitch and other stitches; the picture is labeled "NANCY HALE" at the bottom and titled "THE COTTAGE GIRL". The needlework picture shows a young woman in an ankle-length dress holding long wooden branches in her left hand and a basket of red berries in her right. A tree is in the left background. A stream with a cottage on the far bank is in the right background. The sky in the background, as well as the girl's face, neck, arms, legs and feet, are hand-painted directly onto the ground. The landscape is set inside an oval with a jagged border. Above the oval is a swagged vine with roses and leaves. Below the oval are two cornucopias separated by a hand painted signature of "NANCY HALE". The picture is behind glass (.c) that is painted black at the edges; the title is painted in gold at the bottom center. The gilded wooden frame (.b, original) consists of a deeply curved molding surrounded by smaller moldings. Stitches: The primary stitch on the needlework picture is satin stitch; it also includes long and short, outline, ray, couching, and some overlay stitching. Condition: Plexiglass has been added to the frame in front of the original glass (.c). The backing is replaced. The frame (b.) is original.
Source Note: The embroiderer Nancy Hale used an aquatint as a design source; it is titled "The Cottage Girl" and was published in London, 25 June 1799 by J. LePetit, No. 22 Suffolk Street, Middlesex Hospital. The source is illustrated in Theodore and Nancy Sizer et al. To Ornament their Minds: Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Female Academy, fig. 29. (Hunt 3/22/2007)
Object Number: 1956.63.9a-c
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