Needlework Masterpieces from Winterthur

July 9, 2009


winterthurIn this lovely book Hollis Greer Minor shows us a very small portion of the more than 700 pieces of American needlework housed at Winterthur Museum, the estate of Henry Francis duPont. duPont was a passionate collector of American antiques and recognized the significance of the needlearts in the early American home through his study of wills and inventories. He found that land, money and silverware were the only items preceding needlework in importance. Included in this book are Minor’s adaptations of various diagrams, fabrics and other stitched pieces housed in the museum’s collection. She focuses on Berlin work, crewel work, bargello and the Fishing Lady series of canvases.

Not only does she include the stitching diagrams but also a good bit of historical detail about each technique. For example, the Fishing Lady embroideries are so named because of the prevalence of a fishing lady motif in many of them. This could possibly be explained by the popularity of fishing as an 18th century American courting pastime. This mix of stitching information and historical information is a nice combination. Thanks to Minor for sharing this small portion of the Winterthur collection with us and thanks to duPont, as well, for his foresight in acknowledging the importance of American needlework and its place in history. To purchase a copy of Needlework Masterpieces from Winterthur visit . To learn more about the estate visit


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