Embroidered Picture

Maker: Elizabeth Jefferis

Date: 1777

Geography: Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Linen embroidered with crewel wool

Dimensions: 34 x 31 5/8 in. (86.4 x 80.3 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1959

Accession Number: 59.20


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.