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Wool Stuffed Work Needlework Picture in frame by Anne Olivia Turnley Coffman

1887 (dated)
Origin: America, Tennessee, Friendship
Framed: OH: 30 3/8"; OW: 35 5/8"; OD: 3 1/2"; Needlework by sight: H. 25 1/2"; W 30 3/4"
Wool in painted plaster frame
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lary L. Walker
Acc. No. 2004.603.1
This is a large wool embroidered and stuffed picture worked on a wool ground. The still life composition features a large sliced watermelon surrounded by various berries and grapes in different degrees of ripeness. The picture is signed in embroidery stitches "Anne" in the left bottom corner and in the right bottom corner it is dated "1887."
Label:Arrangements of flowers and fruits were favorite subjects for pictures created by female artists in the nineteenth century, especially as expressed in the more delicate and refined arts of needlework and watercolor painting. Most stitched still life compositions in the Folk Art Museum's collections date from the early years of the nineteenth century and were worked in silk.

Anne Coffman's use of wool illustrates a late nineteenth-century taste for boldness in both stitchery and coloration. Comparatively coarse wool yarns cover ground fabrics more quickly than silks. They also accept dyes more readily, making them good choices for the dramatic color schemes favored by late-nineteenth-century tastes. Naturalistic touches can be found in the dimensionality created by stuffing individual motifs and the use of pom poms (yarn balls). The gradations of color in the wool yarn suggest degrees of ripeness in the fruit.

Provenance:The picture was made by Anne Olivia Turnley Coffman (1857-1931) in Friendship, Tennessee, and descended through the family to Lary Walker, a great, great, grandson of Anne Coffman. In 2003, Mr. and Mrs. Lary Walker gave the picture to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.
Inscription(s):In embroidery threads: "Anne" in left bottom corner; "1887" in right bottom corner