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Painted Picture on Silk

Yorkville Female Academy
Place Made:
Yorkville Female Academy York County South Carolina
Date Made:
paint on silk
HOA: 16; WOA: 20 1/2
Accession Number:
SCHOOL: Yorkville Female Academy was organized in 1819 by the elders of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Yorkville, South Carolina. They advertised in the Columbia Telescope in August of the same year that they had around 50 scholars “all of whom have made such improvement in the different branches of education to which they have attended….in both the literary and ornamental parts….”

“Miss Usher” is identified in the same advertisement as the instructress of the Academy. According to research by textile scholar Pat Veasey, there is a complex New York and Connecticut connection with the Yorkville school. This close relationship could explain this paint on silk ornamental piece which was a popular form in large northern female seminaries.

DESCRIPTION: Central picture shows woman wearing a draped gown and seated in grecian chair holding small child who is kissing her on the face. At the woman’s feet are a basket of flowers, a footstool, and a table. Behind the woman is a low wall, two pillars wrapped with vines and a garden vista. Surrounding the whole image is a floral border.

Labeled at the botton – “[Good M]orning Mama” – this painted silk picture exhibits a neoclassical depiction of mother and child which was popular in prints of the time.

The reverse of the frame contains the RULES of the academy, dated July 1820, and listing prices for various courses, including such subjects as flowering and plain sewing, drawing and painting, tambour, filligree and embroidery, music, etc.

Credit Line:
Mr. and Mrs. Bradford L. Rauschenberg Fund