The Litchfield Female Academy (1792–1833), where this picture was made, was one of the few schools that provided both academic and ornamental educations for young American women. Parents sent their girls to Litchfield expecting them to return home knowing English grammar, arithmetic, history, geography, and religion. But any ladies' academy, no matter how progressive, was still expected to provide instruction in needlework, music, and painting. This painted silk mourning picture is one of eight known from the Litchfield Female Academy.All are almost identical in size, composition, images, and coloring. The painted faces in all eight appear to be by one artist, possibly Flora Catlin, an art teacher at the school from 1815 to 1831.