In the early nineteenth century, pincushions provided a safe repository for straight pins that were otherwise easily lost and painfully found. Decorative examples were frequently given as gifts or chosen by instructresses to display the ornamental skills acquired by their young female pupils. Though only portions of its show cover and trimmings survive, the top of this cushion was originally fully covered in white silk, with tassels added at each corner and metallic trim around its sides. The embroiderer carefully shaded the design to capture the fresh beauty of loosely gathered flowers.


Rectangular pincushion with incurving sides consisting of an unbleached line case and embroidered white silk twill fragment; the linen case consists of two pieces of plain-weave linen joined by an overcast stitch on all sides; the white silk twill fragment is embroidered in silk threads with a bouquet consisting of a large pink rose and rosebud at its center surrounded by sprays of mignonettes, blue larkspur, yellow sweet peas or rest harrow, and a faded pink carnation; satin stitch is used to embroider the principal elements of the design and French knots are used at the center of the rose, rosebud, and forget-me-nots; remnants of the white twill silk are also found along the side seams of the case; two white silk tassels are sewn to the upper corners of the case; a length of coiled metal trim is sewn on top of the seam at the top of the cushion; blue-green stains along the other side seams of the cushion indicate the placement of additional lengths of metal trim.





Silk, linen, copper alloy


Overall: 6 1/4 in. x 4 5/8 in. x 2 3/8 in. (15.88 cm x 11.76 cm x 6.05 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. W. G. Rice and Mrs. Bertie Pruyn Hamlin, 1912

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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