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Maker(s):The School of Mrs. Lydia Bull Royce
Culture:American
Title:pictorial needlework: Liberty Guided by the Wisdom of '76
Date Made:ca. 1810
Type:Textile
Materials:textile: silk, metallic threads; sequins, watercolor on silk; wood, gilding, paint, glass
Place Made:United States; Connecticut; Hartford county: Hartford
Measurements:overall: 23 in x 25 in; 58.42 cm x 63.5 cm
Accession Number:  HD 63.167
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
© Historic Deerfield, Inc, photo by Penny Leveritt

Description:
Needlework picture done in silk and metallic thread embroidery, sequins, and watercolor on silk, which is inscribed "LIBERTY GUIDED BY THE WISDOM OF '76" and is attributed to the school of Mrs. Lydia Bull Royse (1772-1832) of Hartford, Connecticut, which was open from 1799-1816. During the early 19th century, well-to-do young ladies in Hartford had the choice of two well-established schools: the Misses Pattens' or Mrs. Royce's. The original eglomise frame has the label on the back used by Hartford looking glass maker, Nathan Ruggles (1774-1835) after 1806. There is a reverse-glass gold painted border around the fabric, which is surrounded by black paint. The scene depicts Liberty with two children and the American eagle flying overhead. The unknown needleworker executed Liberty's shield and helmet in gold threads and covered the breast plate with sequins, and used watercolors on silk. The Smithsonian has a similar example, done about 1807. According to Susan P. Schoelwer, Royse was known to paint the faces and features of the figures depicted herself, and sometimes the original design of the composition, though these things could also be done by a professional artist outside of the school. Students primarily executed the embroidery in pictures such as this. Framers such as Ruggles were often commissioned to frame the needlework from ladies' academies.

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+63.167

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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