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The Full Basket

1828
Origin: America, Massachusetts, Southboro
13 5/8" X 18 1/4"
Paint on cotton velvet
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1931.403.5
Label:A large number of stencil paintings use The Full Basket pattern, including six examples in Colonial Williamsburg’s collection. The only known signed example is the piece by Eliza Ann Parker of Southborough, Massachusetts. The inclusion of her hometown with her signature gives The Full Basket group its geographical attribution of Massachusetts. Born in Southborough in 1804, Eliza completed the theorem the same year she married Dr. Adolphus Brigham of Shrewsberry, Massachusetts.

While some scholars suggest that all of these paintings may have been products of the same ladies’ academy in or near Southborough, Massachusetts, it is also possible that the stencils were made by a single source and then sold through retail stores or women’s magazines. Often mass-produced stencils accompanied a widely circulated instruction book, thereby eliminating the need for a drawing teacher. This trend led to a rise in theorems as a home craft rather than merely a school girl assignment.
Inscription(s):Written in manuscript on paper card mounted to the lower left margin: "Each pleasing art lends softness to the mind,/ And by our studies are our lives refined." And on the lower right margin: "Executed by/ Eliza Ann Parker Southboro. . . [D?] 1828;"