In the early nineteenth century, Martha Washington's granddaughter, Eliza Parke Custis Law, constructed this needlecase, one of many she created as mementoes of the nation's First Lady. The cross-stitch panels on the cover were cut from chair cushions with a scallop shell pattern worked by Martha Washington, while the lining was cut from one of Mrs. Washington's silk dresses. The cross-stitch fragments retain much of their original brilliance and offer a rare glimpse of the strong colors that would have enlivened the Little Parlor at Mount Vernon.

Description

Book shaped needlecase; the outer covering cut from a piece of linen canvas with a cross-stitched shell design in shades of yellow and red multi-strand worsted wool threads and yellow silk threads; the interior is lined in a cream-bodied brocaded silk spotted with small white flowers and leaves; three layers of green felted wool, cut in a D shape in graduated sizes and embroidered with a blanket stitch in chenille thread around their outer edges, form the leaves of the book; the book is bound in yellow silk with pinked, scalloped edges; a two strand braid of chenille thread is sewn to the exterior binding; two strands of chenille are attached inside each cover at the center of their outer edges.

Date

c. 1802-1831


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Wool, silk, linen


Dimensions

Overall: 7/8 in. x 3 1/8 in. x 2 5/8 in. (2.24 cm x 7.95 cm x 6.68 cm)


Credit Line

Gift of Thomas A. Fransioli Sr., in memory of his wife, Elizabeth Hoffman McVicker Fransioli, 1991


Object Number

W-3529


Colors (Beta)


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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