This yellow silk lampas fragment features a point repeat design, repeating once across the width of the fabric with a height of 20.5". The design contains a central bouquet motif with tulips, berries, pineapples, and pomegranates in a vase. The central motif is flanked by serpentine vines featuring berries and grape leafs. Various geometric diaper patterns are used to fill the floral elements. The full width of the original fabric is 15.5".
The fragment shows a piece of the central motif.
The fabric is plain woven with supplementary warps and thicker wefts, causing a very slight ribbing. The warp floats are Z-spun, and the weft floats are unspun and show a 4/1 satin stitch. The reverse of the fabric shows only plain weave, with evidence of the weft design visible only by the binding points of the satin stitch.
The fragment has two circles cut from the top edge that are similar in size to some pin cushions in the MVLA collection (1 3/8" D). It also shows the same red-brown stain evident on several of fragments of the same fabric.
The fragment (along with W-499/A) come with an interesting, but unlikely story of provenance. Supposedly, the piece was ordered by George Washington from England, but when the ship delivering them to America arrived in New York, the port was occupied by the British. They subsequently confiscated the ship's cargo and sold it at public auction. This story is dubious for several reasons. First, the fabric would have been out of fashion by the time of the revolution, and while fabric was reused for many decades during the eighteenth century, it is unlikely that a full, new textile would be sold decades after its popularity. Second, many fragments in our collection from the same fabric descended in the Washington family from Martha Washington, indicating that she did own the fabric. Also, the fact that W-2979 was cut from W-499/A after it was fragmented adds another dimension to the provenance. W-2979 was descended through the Nelly line, so it is likely that Nelly, who was extremely familiar with sewing techniques, thought to trim the edges in a zig-zag pattern to prevent fading. Therefore, it is likely that W-499/A remained in the Washington family at least through Nelly.
Overall (H x W): 5 in. x 4 3/4 in. (12.7 cm x 12.07 cm)
Other (Design Height): 20 1/2 in. (52.07 cm)
Mount Vernon Collection
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