The Plain and Ornamental Branches: A Sampling of Pennsylvania’s Girlhood Embroideries
Wed, 12/30/2015 - Sun, 05/29/2016
Payne Hurd Gallery
A century after the establishment of William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” in British America, Pennsylvania was home to ethnically and religiously diverse groups of settlers who had already begun to develop the distinctive artistic styles that would characterize the region for the next hundred years. Nowhere are these styles more in evidence than in the needlework accomplishments of Pennsylvania’s daughters.
Drawing from the important embroidery collections at the Museum, The Plain and Ornamental Branches presents fifteen embroidered samplers and silkwork pictures stitched by Pennsylvania girls and young women. From elegant and exuberant to plain and neat, these embroideries reflect important aspects of the lives of their makers—their educational accomplishments, religious convictions, and ties of kinship. Among the objects on view are eight embroideries dating between 1802 and 1887, all of whose makers were related by blood or marrage to their donor, Hope Randolph Hacker.
This exhibition is presented through the generosity of the Audrey and Bernard Berman Family Fund, the Estelle Browne-Pallrand Charitable Trust, the Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the more than two thousand dedicated members of the Museum.
Curated by Kathleen Staples
Ann Hutchinson (1789–1848), The Hutchinson Family, dated 1806, embroidered picture; Ann is the fifth person from the left
Mary Lea (1787–1810), dated MDCCCII (1802), embroidered sampler