From the 1890s to the 1920s, Sophia Crownfield (American, 1862–1929) designed prints for some of the most prominent silk and wallpaper manufacturers in the United States. Her drawings of flowers range from delicate graphite sketches to vivid color studies, revealing her obvious ease with different types of specimens. Through progressive stages of rework, she developed designs for patterns and polished drawings for specific end uses. Examples of Cheney Brothers’ printed silks, shown alongside these richly detailed drawings, reveal how Crownfield’s process transformed floral stems into the fashionable patterns of the period.
Drawing, Study of Squash or Pumpkin Plants; Early 20th century; Designed by Sophia L. Crownfield (American, 1862–1929); Brush and watercolor, graphite on paper; Gift of Starling W. Childs and Ward Cheney, 1937-59-33; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Photo: Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution.