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Needlework picture

c. 1750

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

This picture is part of a large group of related needlework pictures done in and around Boston in the mid-eighteenth century. The unknown girl who made this example was likely influenced by Susanna Hiller Condy (1686 - 1747). Condy, a professional needleworker, advertised in the "Boston Evening-Post" on March 15, 1742: "She draws Patterns of all sorts, especially, Pocket-Books, House-Wives, Screens, Pictures, Chimney-Pieces, Escrutoires [sic], & c. for Tent-Stitch, in a plainer Manner, and cheaper than those which come from London." During the second quarter of the eighteenth century, Condy ran a school in which girls were taught fancy sewing. The use of tent stitch (a diagonal stitch which covers one "square" of the canvas support) and the nature of the imagery suggest that the young woman who created this picture either studied with Condy or was taught by someone who had.

Like the other examples in the Condy tradition, this picture is worked in silk and wool threads on linen canvas and portrays an idyllic scene replete with flora and fauna. Here a couple strolls through a garden while a violinist serenades them. Other pieces within this group depict women fishing or using a distaff to spin yarn.

"Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection," page 215

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