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Needlework Picture: The Washington Family.

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American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2349
Date / Time :
February 18, 2007 11:00AM


Needlework Picture: The Washington Family., after Edward Savage (American, 1761-1817), "wrought by Sophia Pond AE; 18, Keene, New Hampshire, 1816, the needlework picture executed in silk threads on a silk ground with watercolor and gouache details on figures and background, portraying George and Martha Washington, George Washington Parke Custis, and Eleanor Parke Custus the two grandchildren of Martha Washington by her first marriage and adopted by the Washingtons after their father died; and their black servant, sight size17 3/4 x 23 1/2 in., in the original molded giltwood frame with gilt inscribed eglomise mat.

Note: Edward Savage's painting of the Washington family was described by himself as combining symbolism with naturalism. Washington's "Military Character" was represented by his uniform, his presidency was represented by the papers on which his arm rested, and Martha Washington was shown holding "the Plan of the Federal City, pointing with her fan to the grand avenue," while the future of the nation was represented by the grandchildren. The painting is now in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum. A similar embroidered picture was offered and sold from the collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch sold at Sotheby Parke Burnet Inc. New York, May 8-9, 1974, lot 14. Genealogical records indicate Sophia Pond was born December 4, 1797 in Keene, New Hampshire, and was the third child of ten born to Nathan and Deborah N. Houghton Pond. She married John Williams (b. April 4, 1789) of Westfield Union, New Jersey, and she died March 13, 1843.

Literature: See The Magazine Antiques, February 1981, the article Homage to Washington in needlework and prints by Davida Tenenbaum and Betty Ring. In this article the authors write (many schoolgirls) "fashioned silk embroideries and samplers commemorating the first president, often modeling their design after a print. Washington had been a legend during his lifetime and had been celebrated in textiles and engravings for nearly two decades prior to his death. His death, however, elevated him to immortal fame and elicited all kinds of tributes including elaborate memorial ceremonies, and memorial prints." The article illustrates the engraving by Edward Savage of the Washington family that this sampler was copied from, and a similar needlework done by another New England girl. It also mentions the sampler offered here: "Other girls who copied that print were Sophia Pond, who attended Catherine Fiske's (d.1837) school in Keene, New Hampshire, and whose embroidery is dated 1816 on the glass;" and the names of a few other girls who copied the print on their embroidery pictures.
Estimate $30,000-50,000


Keene, Sophia Pond AE, New Hampshire, Martha Washington, Edward Savage, John Williams, Deborah N. Houghton Pond, Eleanor Parke Custus, George Washington, George Washington Parke Custis, Pont Winterthur Museum, Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Sotheby Parke Burnet Inc, Edgar William, Sotheby Parke Burnet Inc., Nathan Houghton Pond, Westfield Union, Betty Ring, Davida Tenenbaum, first president , New England, Catherine Fiske, Keene, New Hampshire, Sampler, United States