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This loosely plain-woven linen fragment is stained with paint in a pattern of leaves and grapes called "verdure." It formed part of a wallcovering installed in the Leavitt House, Hingham, Massachusetts. It was part of a larger pastoral scene according to the paper tag once attached to it (see Inscriptions).
ink and paint application techniques
Wall hangings were used to insulate walls and give an opulent appearance to the most important rooms in northern European houses. Tapestry wall hangings were of two kinds, the first having pictorial scenes and the second more two-dimensional with armorial designs, grotesques, and "verdure" patterns. Verdure patterns were flat landscapes often described as "forrest worke" or "hunting worke" in English inventories. They are distinguished from the more pictorial scenes by the allover patterning of the ground, such as in medieval millefleurs tapestries. This fragment of a wall-sized panel is "stained" with paint in a less-expensive imitation of a woven verdure tapestry. A note written in the ninteenth-century and attached to the fabric when it was received by Historic New England asserts its original location in the Leavitt House in Hingham, Massachusetts. The house was built on one of the original granted houselots in the center of Hingham, and though modified (as seen in photographs taken prior to the house's demolition in 1864) traditionally had as its core a seventeenth-century structure, of which these hangings are the only proof. Another complete panel from the same set shows a man on horseback in early seventeenth-century dress.
"This is a piece of the tapestry or wall covering on the old Levett [sic, Leavitt] house that stood where the Cathoic church now does in Hingham Mass. The right-hand room was covered with it, representing a fishing scene on a brook or river." (handwritten)
11 3/8 x 10 1/4 (HxW) (inches)
Gift of Mrs. S. Randall Lincoln
1680-1725 (based on design and architectural elements with the fragment)
Massachusetts (United States)
Hingham (Plymouth County, Massachusetts)
Title Sheathing Accession Number 1962.7A-C