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St. Andrew.
1776-1780
Embroiderer:Attributed to Prudence Punderson , American, 1758 - 1784
Embroidery; silk thread, floss and ink on a plain-woven silk ground
Primary Dimensions (height x width of ground): 9 x 8 3/8in. (22.9 x 21.3cm) Mount (height x width): 9 1/2 x 8 1/2in. (24.1 x 21.6cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Newton C. Brainard
Gallery Copy: The subject matter of this series is unique in early American needlework. Each picture depicts one of the twelve Christian apostles, accompanied by one or more of his traditional symbols and a caption describing his manner of death. These grim captions contrast starkly with the pleasant landscapes, bright flowers, and engaging animals that evoke a Garden of Eden. The subject matter likely relates to the Punderson family’s adherence to the Church of England, an unpopular choice in overwhelmingly Congregational colonial Connecticut. The stitches are executed with great precision and ingenuity on fine silk, and convey muscles, drapery, feathers, wood grain, and wool. The facial expressions are more individualized than was generally attempted or achieved in early American embroidery.
Description: Needlework picture worked in black, dark green, brown, yellow, cream, light green, pink and red silk threads on a plain-woven gold silk ground, using a surface satin stitch and other stitches. At the bottom is a hand-written inscription in black ink: "St. Andrew./ He was fastened to a Cross at Patra". This is one of a group of twelve silk needlework pictures; each depicts an apostle and has an ink inscription at the bottom with the name of the apostle and a description of their death. The needlework picture is rectangular, oriented vertically. It shows a man wearing a long black robe, or banyan. He is standing with a leg crossed at the knee with his arm raised. The man's elbow and body lean in front of two timbers of wood that are joined at a ninety degree angle to each other but set at an angle to create a large "X". The man stands in a field of small white flowers on green stalks; he is flanked by a short tree over various types of flowers. The edges of the needlework picture are whip-stitched. The picture is hand-drawn in black and red ink, although the ink lines do not always correspond to the location of the embroidery. The needlework is embroidered in untwisted silk, floss and silk thread (two Z-spun yarns, S-plied). The ground has 112 yarns per inch in the warp and 80 yarns per inch in the weft. Stitches: The principal stitch is the surface satin stitch; it also includes satin, stem and free-form stitches. Condition: There are four holes in the top left and left sides plus some loss to the lower right corner of the ground. There is some fading to the ground and embroidery. The needlework picture has been cleaned gently then stitched to a plain-woven cotton support fabric applied to a rigid mount. The picture is not framed.
Subject Note: Andrew is the second of the twelve apostles listed in Matthew 10:2-4. Andrew's death is described in John Foxe's Book of Martyrs (written and published about 1560): "Andrew. Was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew's Cross." Source Note: Some elements of the needlework pictures of the Twelve Apostles (1962.28.3a-l) are taken from The Artist's Vade Mecum (published in London, 1776).
Inscription: At the bottom is a hand-written inscription in black ink: "St. Andrew./ He was fastened to a Cross at Patra".
Object Number: 1962.28.3b
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