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Needlework Picture

Coates, Elizabeth
Place Made:
Baltimore Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
silk on silk, portions painted
HOA: 10 1/8; WOA: 9 3/4
Accession Number:
MAKER: Elizabeth Coates (1796-1843) was the daughter of Francis Coates (1769-1847/8) and Charlotte Linton (bef.1774-bef.1846). Her parents immigrated to Baltimore from Ireland around 1792 and were married by 1795. They were among the early followers of Methodism and John Wesley and by 1802 had become active members of the First Methodist Church. Francis Coates owned a grocery store and a bakery in central Baltimore from around 1796-1827. Elizabeth married Baltimore silversmith Hosea Wilson (1790-1819) in 1816. They were married only three years before Hosea’s death in 1819.

DESCRIPTION: Picture of a young boy in a skeleton suit and a wide brimmed hat. The boy holds a basket and has a bird perched on his finger. He sits under a large tree. Smaller trees and a house are in the background. The picture has an oval shape, and is surrounded by a leafy vine with a single flower at the top and a bow at the bottom.

FORM: Ornamental embroideries such as this were common products of the finest needlework schools of America during the first two decades of the nineteenth century. The designs are usually based on existing prints. The foundation fabric is typically silk; and they are embellished with colored silk threads, sometimes with chenille and spangles. Faces, hands, and sky areas are frequently inpainted with watercolor. This difficult work signified the culmination of a girl’s needlework training, and also the considerable wealth of her parents.

FRAME:Original frame and glass.

RELATED OBJECTS: Also by Elizabeth Coates: sampler (MESDA Acc. No. 4034.1); companion needlework piece (MESDA Acc. No. 4034.3).

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Hull McLean