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Needlework Carpet

1841
Origin: England
Overall (H x W): 36 1/2 x 26 3/4in. (92.7 x 67.9cm)
Wool embroidery threads on a canvas ground
Gift of the John D. Rockefeller, 3rd, Fund, Inc., through the generosity and interest of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, 3rd, and members of the family.
Acc. No. 1996.BH.499
This small rectangular carpet is constructed of twenty individual needlepoint squares, each bearing a different motif. Thirteen squares have floral motifs, including bouquets and sprigs of roses and morning glories and a floral wreath. One square shows a lyre draped with a wreath, two show birds, three show abstract medallions, and one shows a small tea set. The squares are arranged to form a checkerboard pattern alternating between brown grounds and cream grounds (supplemented with light blue grounds).

The reverse is lined with a modern lining attached with twill tape. Like its partner, 1996.BH.399, the lining has the names of signers that have presumably been attached to the back of the squares. If the technique is the same as seen on 1996.BH.399, the names are written on small strips of linen whip stitched to the reverse of the squares. The names as written on the lining are: “Hon Mrs. Branton Gordon; Hon the Charlette Hudson; Hon the Anne Gore; Hon the Sophie Wheatley; Lady Seymore; Lady Gardiner; Lady Smith; Mrs. Everet. Mrs. Boyle; Mrs. Heathcote; Josephine Seymore; Henrietta Farrow; Harriet Gardiner; June Campbell; Mary Wheatley (2); Georgiana (2); 2 squares no name; all made 1841.”
Label:This rug consists of individual needlepoint squares made by different makers joined together. Many of the squares are signed and dated on the reverse, with names ranging from unmarried girls, to titled ladies. While most of the squares feature flowers, a popular needlepoint motif, one interesting square features a small tea set. It’s probable that the rug was made as part of the British government-led initiative sometimes known as Victorian Design Reform. A goal of the Government School of Design, which was established by a Select Commitee of the House of Commons around 1837, was to improve and beautify everyday objects. Published designs from the school are similar to some of the rug motifs.
Provenance:Given to CWF, 1979.

OBJECT HISTORY: The rug does not match the measurements of any of the needlepoint rugs in Bassett Hall during the 1948-49 inventory. However, its partner rug (1996.BH.399) is present in the house at least by 1975 as it was included with a group of rugs sent to Karekin Beshir Ltd for cleaning and repair. This rug was listed in the 1979 inventory.
Inscription(s):Hon Mrs. Branton Gordon; Hon the Charlette Hudson; Hon the Anne Gore; Hon the Sophie Wheatley; Lady Seymore; Lady Gardiner; Lady Smith; Mrs. Everet. Mrs. Boyle; Mrs. Heathcote; Josephine Seymore; Henrietta Farrow; Harriet Gardiner; June Campbell; Mary Wheatley (2); Georgiana (2); 2 squares no name; all made 1841.