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Cutwork picture

Probably Odessa, Delaware, area



12-7/8 in (dia)


Laid paper

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, The David Wilson Mansion, Inc.

Accession Number



“A. J. / 1780” is written in black ink on opposite ends of a center fold.


Ex coll. Mrs. E. Tatnall (Mary Corbit) Warner.


The circular cutwork picture, now housed in a circular frame, was folded to create eight cutwork pie-shaped sections; each section reverses the cutwork on the flanking sections.  The cut images feature outlines of an adult sitting in a chair with a vertical splat in its back.  Two children, one sitting, appear to be reading books in front of the adult. Behind them is a large parrot. Below this vignette, in the center, the cutwork incorporates some bird-like shapes and hearts.  The outer border of the picture is serrated.

In a study of the paper, paper conservator Betty Fiske finds the laid paper is consistent with English papers of 1700 to 1750.  See object folder.

The “A. J.” ink inscription is almost certainly not original to the cutwork picture.  Given one-time ownership of the picture by Mrs. Warner (1848-1923), she likely added the initials of Ann Jefferis (1791-1822), who married Warner’s grandfather David Wilson Jr.  Mrs. Warner marked a few other objects in the Historic Odessa collections with the groundless 1780 date (e.g., high chest of drawers, 1971.627; chest of four drawers, 1971.637; tea caddy, 1971.714).  The letter “J” was not commonly used in 1780.  If the AJ initials and date are authentic, then they must relate to some other, unknown woman who lived beyond the Odessa area.  Available evidence does not all the maker of this cutwork picture to be identified.