Auctioneers and Appraisers

Needlework Picture After Edward Savage "Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth,"

Sold for:





American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2922M
Date / Time :
August 14, 2016 10:00AM


Needlework Picture After Edward Savage "Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth," America, early 19th century, stitched in silk on a painted silk background, with eglomise mat titled in gilt "LIBERTY," in original molded gilt-gesso frame, ht. 35 3/4, wd. 29 1/2 in.

Note: Artists and propagandists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries often drew from a standard set of images, figures, and symbols chosen for their connections to revolutionary ideology and republican values. In fact, it is almost impossible to find any image created during the American or French Revolutions that does not contain several of these icons. This particular work represents an example of how artists were able to integrate many these symbols into a single, allegorical image.

Here, we see Lady Liberty as Hebe, the Goddess of Youth, dressed in a flowing classical robe, giving sustenance to the American eagle descending from the heavens with an approving sunburst blessing his wings. In this moment, Liberty is literally bringing light to a darkened world. It is not a coincidence that she stands before a partially obscured Doric column; artists were not subtle when connecting the new republican age to the classical one. At Lady Liberty's feet are additional symbols of the era's revolutionary sentiments: a royal garter, a key, chains and a broken scepter, signifying the destruction of the tyrannical bonds that once had given the British monarchy power over the Americans. Behind Liberty is the port of Boston, home of the legendary Tea Party and the target of the "Intolerable Acts."

Finally, towering above the entire image is the American flag, with fifteen stars (this was the case between 1794 and 1818), attached to a pole topped by the liberty cap that appears in almost all contemporary, revolutionary images.

Considered together, these images unite to convey optimism during the early years of the latest, and greatest, republican experiment, optimism that Lady Liberty would be able to thrive in the "city upon a hill."
Estimate $15,000-25,000

Minor fading, eglomise mat is a replacement, probable area of retouch to lower right corner.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Edward Savage, Lady Liberty, Liberty, National personifications, National symbols of the United States