Carnations, tulips, forget-me-nots, and other flowers undulate in rhythmic waves across this panel of creamy Chinese silk faille. Worked in silk threads using a variety of stitches including satin, stem, long-and-short, herringbone, buttonhole, and cross stitch, the overall composition is nearly identical to that on a dress in the collection of the Bostonian Society, also of Chinese silk and embroidered by Elizabeth Bull for her marriage to Reverend Roger Price in 1734. This panel and the dress speak to the availability and fashionability of imported “China silk” among American merchant families in the Colonies, as well as to the circulation of embroidery patterns from England. Related needleworked designs also survive on English garments, particularly petticoats, of the period.
The talented embroideress added a flourish to the composition of the present silk that is missing on Elizabeth Bull’s dress: the addition of small sprays of flowers and tendrils worked between the tall stems of carnations. More American than English, these motifs are typically seen on crewel-embroidered bed hangings and garments produced domestically throughout New England and reinforce the likely Boston provenance of this silk.
Condition commensurate with age; some staining.