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Needlework Picture

Foster, Elizabeth
Place Made:
Winchester Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
silk on silk, watercolor
HOA: 10; WOA: 9
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Silk floss on a silk background with watercolor faces and sky. Two gentlemen in the foreground, one in standard late eighteenth-century attire, the other in tunic, cape and feathered hat. At the feet of the men are two dogs. Behind the men is a wooden fence. In the background on the left is a seated man wearing early eighteenth-century attire. In the background on the right is a standing man in mid-eighteenth century attire.

MAKER: Elizabeth Foster (1789-1872) was born in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania to Jonathan and Elizabeth (Greenwood) Foster. By 1809, she and her family had moved to Winchester, Virginia, where she married William Alexander Baker (1788-1847). Elizabeth’s father, Jonathan Foster (1766-1824), was a Revolutionary War veteran, a school teacher, a printer, and publisher of the Winchester newspaper, The Constellation. William A. Baker was a Winchester merchant based on Loudoun Street and later worked as a piano forte maker.

TITLE: The title “Jolly Irishman” has been given to this piece tentatively. The words appeared on the cardboard backboard. However, this backboard appears to be a recycled board, and the words may not refer to this piece. The source of this image has not been found.

INSCRIPTION: In pencil on cherry backboard “Made by/ Elizabeth Foster/ wife of/ Wm. Alexander Baker/ 1804” and “Worked by Mother/at — 1/2 years of age—/ brought by myself at/ sale June 20th [?] 1872. J. [or S.] Baker.” “3 Jolly Irishman/ St. Patrick & __________”

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund