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Embroidered Floral Picture by Amelia de Young

Origin: America, Maryland, Baltimore
Framed (H x W): 24 1/2" x 24 1/2"
Chenille, metallic thread, paint, pencil, silk, silk velvet, gilded wood, glass (fiber identification by eye)
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2008.603.1
This presentation embroidery is roughly square with a brown velvet border. It features a large bouquet of flowers, including carnations, roses, and pansies, embroidered primarily in silk chenille on a silk satin ground. Seven colors of chenille are used (red, two shades of brown, three shades of green, blue, white), which are supplemented by paints or other materials applied after construction (blue, green, yellow, pink). Further, the upper right and top of the design are detailed with 2-ply silk threads in green and navy (or black). While it appears that much of the chenille is couched, detached chain stitches (lazy daisy stitches), outline stitches, backstitches, and running stitches are also present. The ribbon holding the flowers is ornamented by French knots in silver-wrapped thread. The entire work is framed by a brown, silk velvet ribbon, which in turn is edged in gild-wrapped thread in a 4-ply-Z, 3-ply-S braid.

The inscription, “Presented to my beloved Husband, Meichel DeYoung, / by his affectionnate [sic] Wife, Amelia DeYoung.,’ is worked in silver-wrapped thread that is couched with cream silk floss. The place (Baltimore) and date (Nov. 26, 1830) are included in the inscription using the same materials and method.

The work is framed in a square, gilt wood frame decorated with grape leaves.

Stitches: back, couching, detached chain, French knots, outline, running
Label:Twenty-one year-old Amelia Morange de Young made this for her new husband, Meichel de Young in 1830. Meichel was a Jewish Dutch immigrant who made a name for himself as a jeweler in Baltimore, while Amelia was a Jewish French immigrant whose father founded the second synagogue in Manhattan. Meichel and Amelia, along with their children, moved across the United States to New York City, St. Louis, Natchitoches, Cincinnati, Richmond, and finally San Francisco, where two of their sons founded what would become The San Francisco Chronicle. Amelia and Meichel's youngest son, M.H. de Young, also founded the de Young, one of San Francisco's major art museums.
Provenance:Made by Amelia Morange de Young, Baltimore, MD, 1830.
By descent to the de Young estate, San Francisco, CA.
Purchased by unnamed buyer at auction, San Francisco CA, 2008.
Purchased by Neverbird Antiques, Bill and Joyce Subjack, Surry, VA, 2008.
Purchased by CWF, 2008.

Amelia de Young (née Morange) was Jewish and was born in Bordeaux, France on May 8th, 1809. She was the daughter of Benjamin Morange, who helped found the B'nai Jeshurun Jewish congregation in New York in 1825. The family immigrated from France to New York via a ship called "Trident," which set sail from London on December 1st, 1824. The family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where Benjamin became a merchant. Amelia married Meichel de Young, a Jewish immigrant from Holland, on August 14th, 1827.

De Young was born in 1791 in northern Holland to a Dutch Jewish family. He came to the United States in September 1803, arriving in Newport, Rhode Island. He was naturalized in Baltimore on June 27th, 1823. Meichel was a jeweler, dry-good merchant, and purveyor of fine silver. On January 31st. 1810, he married Mary Hall in Baltimore's First Methodist Episcopal Church. The pair had five children -- Elias, Brinah, and two daughters and one son with unknown names -- and divorced on February 2nd, 1827.

Meichel de Young married Amelia Morange on August 14th, 1827, likely in Baltimore. Some records state that they married in New York. The pair moved to New York (New York City), Missouri (St. Louis), Louisiana (Natchitoches), Ohio (Cincinnati), Virginia (Richmond), Texas, and finally to California (San Francisco). The children are as follows: Virginia (about 1832, Maryland-May 25th, 1877, California), Clara (August 23rd, 1836-August 28th, 1912, California), Amanda (about 1837, Missouri or New York), Cordelia (August 1840, Louisiana or Missouri), Gustavus (about 1843, Louisiana or Texas), Charles (January 6th, 1845, Missouri or Louisana-April 23rd, 1880), Michael Henry (September 30th, 1848, Louisiana or Missouri-February 15th, 1925), and Laura (about 1849, Louisiana or Missouri). When Meichel divorced his first wife, Mary Hall, he gained custody of his five children. Amelia became their stepmother and likely gave the children a sense of familial stability. This is likely why Brinah de Young, Amelia's stepdaughter, dedicated her theorem painting (2008.403.1,A) to her "mother," who was actually her stepmother. The pairing of these two objects also points to why they stayed together throughout their history.

By 1854, the family had moved to San Francisco. Michael (also known as "M.H.") and Charles established The Dramatic Chronicle, which became the San Francisco Chronicle, in 1865. Charles was shot to death in San Francisco in 1880, after a prolonged and very public battle with Isaac Smith Kalloch, a San Francisco mayoral candidate. Kalloch accused Charles' mother, the maker of this embroidered floral picture, of running a brothel. M.H. de Young was the founder of the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, oftentimes known as "The de Young" a large American decorative arts museum in San Francisco.

Amelia de Young died on May 19th, 1898 in San Francisco. Her husband, Meichel, died in 1853.