In 1766, Martha Washington acquired from London upholsterer Philip Bell the materials needed to create "one dozn. Chair bottoms." Over the next thirty-six years, she carefully cross-stitched a scallop-shell design she herself possibly created. While she may have intended for the canvases to upholster slip seats, they were ultimately fabricated into cushions that were likely placed on Windsor chairs in the Little Parlor at Mount Vernon. This cushion is one of six in Mount Vernon's collection. Its yellow worsted wool casing, multicolor, hand-knotted silk and wool fringe, and woven silk tape also remain intact, making it a rare documented example of Martha Washington's needlework and original upholstery at Mount Vernon. More






Wool, silk, linen


Overall: 2 7/8 in. x 19 in. x 16 3/8 in. (7.32 cm x 48.26 cm x 41.61 cm)


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph G. Newman, 1984

Object Number



Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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