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Maker(s):Swan, Elizabeth A.
Title:needlework picture
Date Made:ca. 1807
Materials:textile: polychrome silk embroidery; watercolor and gouache; off-white plain weave silk ground
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Boston
Measurements:overall: 22 1/4 in x 18 1/4 in; 56.515 cm x 46.355 cm
Accession Number:  HD F.925
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Needlework picture of a dancing "muse" done in silk embroidery and watercolor on silk in the original eglomise frame, inscribed in reverse-glass gold painting "WROUGHT BY ELIZABETH A. SWAN AT ROWSON AND HASWELL'S ACADEMY." This muse was embroidered by Elizabeth Swan as part of her curriculum at the Boston school operated by Susanna Haswell Rowson (1762-1824) and her sister-in-law Mary Cordis Haswell. Born in England, Mrs. Rowson was better known in her day as an actress and author of popular novel "Charlotte Temple, A Tale Of Truth" than as a teacher. Her reputation clearly attracted skilled students like Elizabeth Swan, who created this muse in a cream silk gown with face and limbs painted in watercolors. The composition is worked on a silk satin background with fine silk thread in flat stitch. The technique of shading the stitches makes the dress appear to flow. Although Elizabeth's identity is unknown, it is interesting that John Doggett (1780-1857), the gilder and looking glass maker in Roxbury, charged a Mrs. Swan of Boston "to Blacking & Gilding & lettering 1 picture & frame 1.75" on June 27, 1807.

Label Text:
Acquired from Amherst Auction Galleries, purchased, 10/1/1983.

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