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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Upham, Mary
Culture:American (1796-1859)
Title:needlework: mourning picture
Date Made:ca. 1807
Type:Textile
Materials:textile: silk; watercolor, graphite
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Deerfield and/or Northampton
Measurements:overall: 18 1/4 x 20 in.; 46.355 x 50.8 cm
Accession Number:  HD 69.0470
1969-470t.jpg

Description:
Mourning picture by Mary Upham (1796-1859) of Northampton done in silk thread and watercolors on a silk ground. Mary embroidered this memorial to her father, Edward Upham (1759-1807) who died in April 1087, six weeks before she was enrolled in Deerfield Academy during the spring and summer of 1807. The son of Dr. Jabez Upham (1717-1760) and Katherine (Nichols) Upham (1722-1774) of Bookfield, Massachusetts, Edward Upham married Mary Caitlin, the daughter of Seth Caitlin (1734-1798) and Abigail (Denio) Caitlin (1737/8-1805) of Deerfield, and aunt of Miss C. Alice Baker (1833-1909), about 1788; they settled in Northampton where he was a lawyer. Deerfield Academy curriculum taught students to engage intellectual and emotional issues through didactic artwork for public appreciation. The mourning of loved ones raised complex personal, religious, and metaphysical questions best resolved through polite conversation. This piece was probably done under the tutelage of Jerusha Mather Williams (1783-1844) at Deerfield Academy. According to Suzanne L. Flynt, Jerusha Mather Williams of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was a student at the Misses Pattens' school in Hartford, Connecticut, around 1800, which was founded by Sarah Patten (1761-1843) and assisted by her sisters, Ruth and Mary, lasting from 1785-1825. Jerusha Williams brought this mourning picture pattern (see Betty Ring for similar Hartford area memorials) and a similar style of embroidery from at the Misses Pattens' to Deerfield Academy while she was the third Preceptress during the summer and fall quarters from 1806 to 1812. The picture depicts a morning woman and small child (originally thought to be Edward's widow, Mary, and her younger daughter, Katherine [b.1799]) in black standing next to a memorial urn on a tall plinth, with a lilly plant with its broad-leafed fan of flowers in front and a tall weeping willow and two tall cyprus trees behind, and a line of buildings in the background. The extensive use of blue in the painted foliage and the awkward buildings in the distance relate to other Deerfield Academy compositions.

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