Antique Silk Embroidered Picture Sampler C1790 Folk Art Couple Animals Fishing
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Antique Silk Embroidered Picture Sampler C1790 Folk Art Couple Animals Fishing:
IMMEDIATE – PROFESSIONALLY PACKED – FULLY INSURED - SHIPPING Buyer pays actual cost of fully insured shipping, very safely packed. All Customs forms will state the actual selling price of items shipped internationally. I wish I’d had another witness with me the day I discovered this late 18th Century American schoolgirl’s embroidered picture sampler, but there were only the two of us wandering through the home, slowly, quietly and with no small degree of sadness. Although I’d been in the home many times, this day was the first time since the passing of a fascinating man who died too young. I was there to help his widow, a dear friend, make some necessary decisions. Even though she was there to witness the discovery, I still wish someone else had been there as well because it’s hard to believe.
I guess I should first give you some measurements and observations. We’ll get back to the “event” in a moment.
The work remains in what I believe to be the original frame.
Overall = 19 ½” by 20 ¾”
Silk picture “mounted” on board = 16 ½” by 18”.
The color have remained strong, and some areas of the embroidery still glisten and catch the light in such a way that a sub-amateur photographer like me has difficultly capturing the true hues. I’ll let you know if an image is way off. Most are pretty close.
The embroidery was accomplished on silk using both silk and chenille thread. You’ll be able to see this materials in my close-ups. Interestingly, the young lady chose to work in about 20 sequins. You’ll see them at the woman’s neckline as well as on the shoulders, straps and belts of her man friend. (I believe he is holding a sword in his left hand.)
Professional artists, mostly unknown though some are either attributed or actually known, had completed the faces, arms, legs and feet before the silk to be embroidered was given to the young ladies.
I removed the back, hoping to find some information about the girl or the family, place or anything else. Instead, what I found made me smile. I even sent a picture of that cacophony of strings and threads to a friend, telling him I thought the back could be mistaken for a work of modernism, perhaps a mixed media construction created by a young man being supported by Gertrude Stein. I called it “Composition for Strings.” It isn’t, of course, but the cheese slips off my cracker now and again.
Fine silk is as delicate as a young girl’s heart and just as fragile. This picture, as with most I’ve seen outside museums, has sustained to tears, losses and pulls. The next few images focus on those spots, the largest being the one shown above.
Meanwhile, you should know a little about its provenance. It descended through one of the families who founded Bloomington, Indiana, which is in Monroe County, finally coming to rest with Gary Buskirk Chumley, the writer, philanthropist, and intellectual with a quick wit who died before he was finished living. It was Gary’s widow who will, I’m sure, back me up on how I discovered the piece.
More images and commentary continue below my three "Prime Directives:"
1st: I never, under any circumstances, use a reserve, and rarely do I ask for an opening offer of more than $9.00 (sometimes even less).
2nd: I never end sales early.
3rd: I don’t usually clean, repair, or otherwise monkey around with anything. I push enough dust aside to expose any flaws, but if I discovered it in some dusty attic, you can look forward to a little dust on it when it gets to your house. If it has a flaw or a wart, I'll tell you about it.
So rest easy and have some fun.
We had walked around the house for a hefty portion of the afternoon, she and I opening closets and drawers and cabinets filled with fine things. The home is locally known as the “castle on the corner,” and even though it has a three-story elevator, I was tuckered out, so we sat on one of the Federal Period sofas.
I felt like the man in the picture looks – half asleep, worn to a frazzle. In order to help Gary’s widow make wise decisions, I needed information, so I asked her if she knew the history of the hundreds and hundreds or antiques in the home. She said, “Oh yes. I’ve lived with these family things for a long, long time.”
As we sat, I looked around the huge living room and noticed one corner of the silk pictures peeking out from behind a cluster of Chinese porcelain on top of a huge but elegantly proportioned Chippendale chest on chest. I pointed to it and asked if she knew its history. She told me it had come through Gary’s family and that it was late 18th Century Pennsylvania and made of cherry.
She thought I was talking about the chest, so I stood, reached around behind the blue & white porcelain, retrieved this framed picture and sat back down. She looked it over, and I swear, this is an exact quote: “I’ve never seen that before in my life.” I believe that is a new first for me. I discovered something in someone’s living room they didn’t even know was there.
It was a humorous moment in a not so humorous day. Speaking of humorous, those two folksy goats being a smile to anyone’s face.
We don’t know the schoolgirl’s name, the creator of the work, but we assume she was a Van Buskirk, White, Buskirk or Chumley. Fortunately though, thanks to me, her work now has a title, which is:
“Little Boy in Flowering Tree Watches as Lady Dances for Sleeping Man While Goats and Dogs Relax on the Lawn in Front of a Tidy Cottage Near the Sea Where Men Fish with Nets from Boats Anchored Near the Mill.”
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