Basket of Flowers Needlework Picture

United States, circa 1840

sight size: 8½” x 11” • frame size: 11¾” x 14¼” • price: $3300

By the second quarter of the 19th century, many American needleworkers were using the newly available Merino wool yarn for their samplers and other needlework projects. The wool from Merino sheep was fleecier and softer than the traditional worsted wool and it took dyes well, resulting in a yarn that was a bit easier to stitch and created a deeply saturated image.

This very appealing, folky depiction of a highly decorative basket with a robust flower arrangement makes wonderful use of Merino wool yarn and contrasts it well with the very fine linen background.

A variety of stitches was used to excellent effect. The flowers, leaves and buds were worked in satin-stitch, the stems, tendrils, leaf veins and open-work lattices of the basket were all worked in chain stitch, and a variation of French knots punctuate the composition nicely. 

It is in excellent condition and has been conservation mounted. Importantly, it remains in its outstanding original painted frame with rosette corner-blocks that nicely echo the needlework flower blossoms.


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