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Being able to produce fine embroidery was a sign of female accomplishment and education in the 19th century. Martha "Patty" Phelps came to Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, in May 1804, only one month after her mother died. She spent the summer stitching this silk-on-silk embroidery recording her mother's and her young brother's deaths. Mourning pictures like these were a way of expressing a family's grief and sense of loss. The weeping willows and neoclassical funerary urns Patty Phelps painstaking sewed were traditional symbols of mourning in the 19th century.


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Phelps mourning embroidery

creator   Martha "Patty" Phelps
date   1804
location   Deerfield, Massachusetts
width (framed)   22.625"
height (framed)   18.5"
process/materials   embroidered silk on silk
item type   Art/Decorative Arts - Textiles
accession #   #1990.016

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See Also...

Memorial to M. & S. Sheldon

Hoyt family register

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