Silk-Embroidered Mourning Picture
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:21)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Folk Art
GUEST: I bought this as a gift for my husband. He was born on George Washington's birthday, which is February 22. I won't say what year. (appraiser laughs) I was excited. I went to a little antique shop in Richardson, Texas--
GUEST: --and I told the lady I was looking for something special for my husband for George Washington's birthday.
GUEST: And she brought this out and said that it was a memorial, a mourning picture,
GUEST: and she thought that it was made sometime around 1820 or 1825 and thought that it was made as a memorial for the death of the three presidents: Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. I thought it was beautiful and visited it every day--
GUEST: --for about six weeks until I could afford to buy it.
APPRAISER: This is a silk-embroidered mourning picture that was made in South Hadley, Massachusetts, at the Abby Wright School. Abby Wright was a schoolmistress who had a school in South Hadley, Massachusetts, for the education of young girls, where she taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, and also skill with needle and thread. And that school operated from 1803 to 1811. And as you can see, we have a combination of media and techniques here. There's painting on silk, there's stitchery on silk, but what is the key characteristic of Abby Wright is this coiled silver thread, which adorns the three urns on top of this monument. And the reality, I think is, this was probably made for a family, because Abby Wright stopped teaching school in 1811, so that would have been too early. But it's a remarkable thing, in the original glass, in the original frame, with that marvelous shimmer to it. And these things are extremely popular. How much did you pay for this silk embroidery?
GUEST: I paid a week's salary: $500.
APPRAISER: We would probably estimate this at around $15,000 to $20,000.
GUEST: Oh! How much?
APPRAISER: $15,000 to $20,000.
GUEST: (laughing) $15,000 to $20,000?
GUEST: Oh. I need to get insur...
APPRAISER: You're blushing.
GUEST: That's unbelievable.
GUEST: I'm going to faint. Whoo!
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