Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Embroidered Picture

Elizabeth Jefferis
Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Linen embroidered with crewel wool
34 x 31 5/8 in. (86.4 x 80.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1959
Accession Number:
Not on view
This work falls somewhere between a sampler and a needlework picture. It owes its inspiration to seventeenth-century English crewelwork, such as bed hangings decorated with designs of large vinelike flowering trees emerging from small hillocks embroidered at the bottom edges. Such designs were in turn inspired by printed Indian textiles. Instead of creating a totally coherent picture, Elizabeth Jefferis chose to have most of the motifs float untethered across the linen; thus the composition also recalls Pennsylvania German samplers, which feature unrelated individual motifs. This needlework is the earliest example of at least three known pieces of this type made by Chester County girls.
Inscription: embroidered across top: JAMES JEFFERIS / ANN JEFFERIS HTC / EIEC MIEI / EIHH 1777 [undecipherable] C[or S?] AT[?] RISE M[?] CL[?] / ELIZABETH JEFFERIS; embroidered at right edge: AC
Arthur J. Sussel, Philadelphia; sale, Parke-Bernet, New York 23 Jan. 1959, lot 392
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