Embroidered Picture

Maker: Mary Wright (1740–1829)

Maker: Possibly Sarah Osborn's School

Date: ca. 1754

Geography: Made in Newport, Rhode Island, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Linen embroidered with wool and silk thread

Dimensions: 7 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (19.4 x 19.4 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1946

Accession Number: 46.155

Description

At age fourteen, Mary Wright, the only child of a prosperous farmer and brickyard owner in Middletown, Connecticut, was sent to school in Newport, Rhode Island. In the mid-eighteenth century, few schools in Connecticut taught more than the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. In order to gain the necessary feminine accomplishments, well-to-do girls were usually sent to either Boston or Newport. Mary may have attended a school run by Mrs. Sarah Osborn, who, in 1758, advertised in the Newport Mercury, stating she provided instruction in "Reading, Writing, Plain Work, Embroidery, Tent Stitch, Samplers, &c, on reasonable Terms." Mary completed at least two pictures based on engravings depicting the four seasons; her needlework of Summer, which is closely allied with the design for Spring in Wencelaus Hollar's 1644 print series entitled "The Four Seasons," is in the collection of the Middlesex County Historical Society, Middletown, Connecticut.

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