Author: Susan Brown

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Image features a textile with a design of scattered Queen Anne's Lace on a red strié ground. Stems and leaves are screen printed in red to give shadow effect, and flowers are screen printed in white. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Colorful Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace recalls the simple charm of a photogram, an early photographic process where objects, frequently botanical specimens, were placed directly on a photosensitive paper and exposed to sunlight. In fact, the detail captured in this floral design was probably created by placing the flowers directly on the photographic emulsion used to create the...
Image fetures the textile, Aswan, comprising vertical columns of horizontal strokes of blurred color, in soft purples, grays and black. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Digital Printing with Tradition
In 2015, British architect David Adjaye, who had recently completed the design of the acclaimed National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, was invited to curate an exhibition for the museum’s Selects series. Adjaye, who was born in Tanzania and raised in Ghana, has traveled to nearly every African nation and chose...
Status Cloth
The sophisticated visual culture of the Kuba kingdom has been noted since the first explorers visited the region. Abstract geometric patterning is deployed across all media, from scarification of the skin to textiles, basketry, pottery, and even the woven walls of noble dwellings. The devices of color alternation, contrast of surface texture, and play of...
White fabric printed in blue with a design of a man seated on a flying eagle with the inscription "To Philadelphia." Background has a scrolling vine pattern. Made to commemorate the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876.
Away to the Centennial We Go
Author: Virginia Pollock This curious textile was manufactured in the 1870s by American Print Works which was located in Fall River, Massachusetts. Featuring a motif of a figure taking flight on the back of an eagle, the intended destination of the traveler is revealed with the repeated phrase “TO PHILADELPHIA.” In 1876, many individuals were...
Object features: Square scarf of yellow silk crepe with an appliqué design of leaves and small flowers in green and yellow. Initials MK appliquéd in two corners. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Sunny Scarf
Mariska Karasz’s fashions for women were clean, simple, and modern in cut, but were made unique, charming, and unusual through the addition of appliquéd and embroidered patterns inspired by traditional folk embroideries of her native Hungary. “Dateless is Mme. Karasz’s own description of the evening and afternoon frocks and hostess gowns that are classically princess...
Bag of silk, printed on both sides, commemorating the landing of General Lafayette at Castle Gardens N.Y. in 1824.
A Mixed Bag of Historical Accuracy
Author: Virginia Pollock While this hand painted silk bag may seem like a simple fashion accessory, in reality it marks one of the most celebrated events in 1824 in the city of New York. On the backside of the purse there is an inscription that reads: “Landing of General Lafayette / at the Castle Garden...
Image features: Printed cotton yard goods sample with six small swatches of other colorways sewn to the back. Hot pink ground with dark green leaves around roses and lilies in shades of blue, yellow-green, and dark brown. Other flowers in pink, off-white, pink-beige and yellow-green. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Fazenda Lily
During World War II, commercial construction in the United States came to a standstill, but Dorothy Draper received a plum commission to design the interiors of Cassino Hotel Quitandinha, in Petrópolis, a mountain resort outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, designed by Italian architect Luis Fossatti and constructed by entrepreneur Joaquim Rolla. At the time it...
Image features: Embroidered picture, nearly square in format, depicting a mourning female figure leaning on a tomb surmounted by an urn under the shade of a weeping willow. The tomb bears the inscription: Sacred to the memory of Dr. Robt Rogerson. obt. April 1st 1806, AE 49 y's. Lucy Rogerson. obt. March 4th, 1807, AE 39. Danl. H. Rogerson. obt., March 25th, 1808, AE 14. Lucy H. Rogerson. obt. 1803, AE 11 months. Embroidered in tan silk with toned watercolor washes. Trial sketch of head on left margin and trial letters in lower right and bottom margins. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Weeping Willow
To a modern eye, mourning samplers sometimes seem insufficiently personal or idiosyncratic to represent genuine grief, relying as they do on stock motifs—the woman in classical dress leaning in a posture of grief against the tomb, under a weeping willow. In fact, mourning was perhaps more fashionable than emotional; following the death of George Washington...
Red wool felt banner embroidered with a blue star on a white rectangle, with the words "Over There" embroidered in white on a blue arch above.
Over There
Author: Madelyn Shaw For several years, I have been immersed in the subject of wool as a wartime resource. The global trade in wool grew exponentially in the 19th century, fed by the opening of new regions to sheep farming, the industrialization of the production of wool yarns and textiles, and the seemingly continuous need...