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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):Honeywell, Martha Ann
Culture:American (1787-1856)
Title:needlework picture
Date Made:1806-1856
Type:Textile
Materials:paper, pencil, ink, textile: polychrome silk floss embroidery
Place Made:United States
Measurements:overall: 5 1/8 in x 4 in; 13.0175 cm x 10.16 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2010.22
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson for Minor Antiques
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Description:
Rectangular piece of cream-colored paper embroidered in polychrome silk floss threads in two shades of green; purple, two shades of yellow, two shades of pink, light blue, and off-white in a design of a pansy and an unopened rose surrounded by leaves and smaller light blue flowers perhaps forget-me-nots following an embroidery design first drawn out in pencil. The stitches employed resemble filling and stem, and there is additional accent stitching of undetermined fiber (hair?) in a light brown color. "Needlework done without hands / by M. A. Honeywell_" is inscribed in cursive writing in ink on the bottom of the piece of paper. Born in Westchester, New York, itinerant artist Martha Ann Honeywell (c.1787-after 1848) was known for her profile silhouettes, needlework, penmanship, and paper cutouts. Born without hands or forearms, for much of her life she performed in front of audiences in taverns and other venues using only the first joints of both arms, one foot with only three toes, and her mouth to cut her silhouettes. She also offered finely stitched needlepoint watch papers, wax works and artificial flowers, and wrote tiny verse with her mouth. The first broadsides and newspaper advertisements announcing her profession of profile cutting appear in 1806 and continue until 1848. She travelled and appeared with Sally Rogers (also another disabled artisan, see HD 2006.14.1-.2) in Charleston, SC, and then alone appeared in Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, New London, Boston, Salem, Newburyport, Haverhill, Portsmouth, Portland, Maine, and Hudson, NY, and travelled to Europe. See examples of her silhouettes (HD 2010.23.1).

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