Probably Ann Jefferis Wilson (1791–1822)
26 1/4 in x 19 1/4 in
Silk on silk
On loan from Winterthur, The David Wilson Mansion, Inc.
“This embroidery was sewed by a Corbit or a Wilson about 1790” is written onto a piece of paper, once taped to the back of the frame and now preserved in the object file. The 1954 note also references technical details and Charles F. Montgomery, then curator of the Winterthur Museum.
The edges have been sewn onto a modern muslin padded mount.
Ex coll. Mrs. E. Tatnall (Mary Corbit) Warner
Weeping willow and cedar trees and a grape vine suggest that this colorful and accomplished needlework was made after 1800 and probably before 1820. It has no specific early history of ownership, but because it was part of the body of Corbit- and Wilson-family furnishings assembled by Mary Corbit Warner, historians have looked to those two families for a possible maker. Ann Jefferis, who married David Wilson Jr. in 1808 when she was 17, is the leading candidate. Her capabilities appear in a pin cushion (acc. no. 1971.1287) that she made before her wedding.
The complex design of the needlework panel has no obvious source. Careful inspection of the silk ground reveals a faint line, seemingly rendered in graphite (pencil), in the upper right corner (see accompanying image). It departs from the stitched green and yellow threads marking the main stem of the grape vine and suggests that much of the pictorial needlework had been laid out in advance, a practice observed in other needlework, even though the finished work departed from the plan.
Susan Burrows Swan, A Winterthur Guide to American Needlework (New York: Crown, 1976), 767.
Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 196-197.