Colonial by Way of Blue and White

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Old stitchery might have both a direct and an indirect influence on the Arts and Crafts artisans of Deerfield. In the late nineteenth century Ellen Miller and Margaret Whiting examined an embroidered bed cover created by Deerfield milliner Kate Catlin for her niece C. Alice Baker. This work became the inspiration for the door curtain seen in the above design. A reporter for the Chicago Sunday Times was struck by the changes that Miller and Whiting made to the original, "They are not above using the square design...for the decoration of an oblong door curtain...nor, while they keep closely to the original lines, do they deem it wrong to swing the curves with a trifle more grace than the untrained hand of the original designer."1 Emma Henry's densely packed design is more restrained than her Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework inspiration. With symmetry, order and a seeming aversion to empty space, Emma's design reigns in the natural motifs which likely appeared more organic and lively in Catlin's original.

Left image: Drawing of DSBWN door curtain for "home on the Hudson" River, NY, Deerfield Society of Blue & White Needlework, Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association

Right image: Knotted and Tufted Coverlet, Emma Henry, Courtesy of Historic Deerfield, Inc.