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Needles and Haystacks: Pastoral Imagery in American Needlework
 from the Winterthur Collection
October 3, 2006 through January 7, 2007 at the Concord Museum

Canvaswork picture, made by Priscilla Allen, Boston, 1747.  Wool and silk embroidery on linen.  1962.588.  Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont. Photograph courtesy Winterthur
The Concord Museum is pleased to announce a special exhibition, Needles and Haystacks: Pastoral Imagery in American Needlework from the Winterthur Collection, on view from October 3, 2006 through January 7, 2007. Featuring exquisite needlework pictures of idyllic country scenes created by schoolgirls in early America, the exhibition gives a new twist to the traditional focus on the landscape that is so much a part of New England history.

The artistry and charm of the works themselves, the richness of the colors in the needlework, and the diversity of the materials and techniques are sure to appeal to all those with an appreciation for fine craftsmanship, including antique collectors, artists, designers, and needlework enthusiasts from novice to expert. Canvaswork, silkwork, crewelwork, and needlework are exhibited in forms ranging from framed pictures and samplers to petticoat borders and chair seat covers. Complementing the needlework pieces in the exhibition are silver teapots, Staffordshire figurines, painted boxes and porcelain candlesticks that support the pastoral theme.

Concord Museum Executive Director Désirée Caldwell says of the exhibition, "Needles and Haystacks is an wonderful opportunity for our members and for the visiting public to enjoy some of the finest pieces of American pastoral needlework. These examples from Winterthur's collection are both rare and beautiful and this is the only time these works will be exhibited together in New England." The exhibition at the Concord Museum is supported by Skinner, Inc.

The word "pastoral" defines an idealized time when shepherds and shepherdesses lived simple, rural lives uncomplicated by the corrupting influences of the city. Organized by Linda Eaton, Curator of Textiles at Winterthur Museum, Needles and Haystacks shows how the pastoral tradition was depicted in needlework through themes of love and courtship, farms and landscapes, and the carefree bliss of rural life. Instruction in fancy needlework techniques was central to the education of the daughters of wealthy colonists. The schoolgirls whose work is exhibited were from Boston, Salem and Newburyport as well as Pennsylvania, Maine, Connecticut, and Delaware.

crewelwork petticoat border, attributed to Mary Dodge Burnham, Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1750-1775.  Wool and silk embroidery on linen.  1962.12  Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Francis du Pont.  Photograph courtesy WinterthurWinterthur Museum and Country Estate, located in Delaware, is one of the nation's richest treasure troves of American decorative arts -- artfully installed in 175 period rooms in the former home of founder Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969). Needles and Haystacks draws from Winterthur's own collection of more than 2,000 pieces of American needlework, including samplers, needlework pictures, embroidered bed hangings, and quilts.

With one of the oldest collections of Americana in the country, the Concord Museum is renowned for its national treasures: the lantern that hung in the church steeple on the night of Revere's famous ride; the largest collection of Henry Thoreau's possessions anywhere, including the desk where he penned Walden and "Civil Disobedience;" Ralph Waldo Emerson's Study, an important gathering place for the greatest American writers of his day; and outstanding furniture, clocks, silver, and ceramics. The Museum's own extensively documented needlework collection numbers about seventy objects ranging in date from the 1660s to the 1830s, almost exclusively from Concord or one of the neighboring communities.

Needles and Haystacks is included free with Museum admission and is on view from October 3, 2006 through January 7, 2007. Family-oriented activities will be incorporated into the galleries to enhance learning for adults and children. Linda Eaton, Curator of Textiles at Winterthur and curator of this exhibition will give a Gallery Talk, "Needles and Haystacks: Pastoral Imagery in American Needlework," on Sunday, October 15 at 2:00. Ms. Eaton has been the Curator of Textiles at Winterthur Museum since 1999 and has lectured, written and organized exhibitions about textiles for the past twenty years. Her consultations include the White House, the United States Capitol, the North Carolina State Capitol, The Park Houses of Philadelphia, the Barnes Collection and the Atwater Kent Museum. The Gallery Talk is $15/$10 Members; reservations required.

crewelwork petticoat border, attributed to Mary Dodge Burnham, Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1750-1775.  Wool and silk embroidery on linen.  1962.12  Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Francis du Pont.  Photograph courtesy WinterthurThe Concord Museum is located in historic Concord, Massachusetts at the intersection of Lexington Road and Cambridge Turnpike. The Museum is wheelchair accessible and has ample free parking on Cambridge Turnpike. It is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

ADMISSION: General admission to the Museum is $8 for adults, $7 Seniors (62 & over), $7 Students with valid id, $5 Children. Concord Museum Members are free. Benefit admission prices are in effect from December 1 through January 1 as part of Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature.

HOURS: through January 1: Monday-Saturday 9-5; Sunday 12-5. Beginning January 2: Monday-Saturday 11-4; Sunday 1-4. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

For further information: (978) 369-9609 (Taped information); (978) 369-9763 (Reservations); E-mail: cm1@concordmuseum.org; Web site: www.concordmuseum.org


Images:
1. Detail, canvaswork picture, made by Priscilla Allen, Boston, 1747. Wool and silk embroidery on linen. 1962.588. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont. Photograph courtesy of Winterthur

2 and 3. Details, crewelwork petticoat border, attributed to Mary Dodge Burnham, Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1750-1775. Wool and silk embroidery on linen. 1962.12  Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Francis du Pont. Photograph courtesy of Winterthur

Artwork: Windfall and Word of Mouth Web Deign.

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