“Pot Holder”, initialed N. D.

 American, 18th century

size of the pot holder: 6¼” square • framed size: 11” square • price: $6200

Colonial Americans embraced the drinking and serving of tea and coffee in a social setting throughout the middle of the 18th century, and many accessories related to this custom became equally popular. Needleworkers fashioned decorative pot holders which would appear on the tea table along with silver teapots and ceramic salt glazed sugar bowls. Susan B. Swan in Plain and Fancy: American Women and Needlework, 1650-1850 (Winterthur Museum, 1977), discusses this form and illustrates two examples of pot holders in figures 59 and 85. Swan states that these decorated pot holders are very thin and were probably meant for show rather than protection.  

We are pleased to offer this fine and beautifully made example of this very rare form. It is initialed N.D. and was worked circa 1770. This pot holder is illustrated in a book published in 1940 and again in 1963 by Crown Publishing, Inc., entitled, Homespun and Blue: A Study of American Crewel Embroidery by Martha Genung Stearns, as figure 23. The book accompanies the pot holder. 

The crewel wool embroidery was gracefully designed and executed and it retains its original binding, a printed fabric of the period. The reverse is plain linen (see photo taken prior to mounting). It is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted into a late 19th century frame.


pot holder verso
photo of reverse



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