Needlework Picture

Collection Type

  • Textiles


ca. 1804




Mourning picture worked in silk on a silk satin ground a woman and a small boy dressed in blue lean on either side of a memorial with two urns on top. A man at left points to the urns. There is one large weeping willow tree at left. The sky and the faces and hands of the people are painted. The piece is framed and under a reverse painted (eglomise) glass.


Descriptive Terms

funerary art
Picture, Needlework


Published in Betty Ring, Girlhood Embroidery, 83. On August 5, 1805 schoolmistress (and needlework teacher) Abby Wright of South Hadley, Massachusetts mentioned this needlework picture to her half-sister in a letter. Ring quotes the letter as follows "We called at the Rev. Mr. Howard's to see a piece of needlework lately executed at a celebrated school in Boston...The piece I refer to was wrought by a Miss Lyman in memory of both her parents...the expense of drawing and painting the faces was eight dollars and six months spent in Boston in working it. Comparing this with the labor of six or eight weeks in the country by a country girl without the assistance of a limner we might expect as great a contrast as we find." Abby Wright Allen: A Record of her Letters, etc., 1795-1842, 76-7. Mount Holyoke College Library, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Mary probably worked this at Mrs. Rowson's Academy in Medford.


Painted, ""M. Lyman Ob. Oct. 23 1802/ S. Lyman Ob June 5 1802"" ""Leave thy fatherless Children I will/preserve them alive"" ""For I/know that my Reedemer liveth."" / ""And though worms destroy this/ body yet in my flesh shall I see God/ For this mortal must perish / IMMORTALITY""


Lyman, Mary (Embroiderer)

Location of Origin



35 x 29 3/4 (HxW) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift from Miss Isabelle Robinson

Accession Number



Probably Massachusetts (United States)
Probably Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)