Mourning Picture

A mourning picture embroidered by Susan Winn, about 1816, in Lititz, PA, and dedicated to her sister, Caroline, who died in 1806 as an infant. The circular embroidered picture is surrounded by a band of couched chenille decorated with gold spangles. It shows a woman, two girls, and a boy gathered around a cloth-draped urn on which is printed "rests in Peace." The woman and girls wear necklaces with pendants or plaques; the one worn by the girl on the right is lettered "SW." The boy holds a book on which is printed "Ble--ed are the Dead that die in the L---." Printed in blue ink on the front of the plinth is "Sacred to the Memory / of my dear Sister / CAROLINE WINN. / Sweet be Thy sepulchral rest / Sister dear! supremely blest! / May the ties which us unite / Be renew'd in realms of light! / Erected by Susan Winn." In a gilded wood frame, it measures 25" x 25", and its black mat is reverse-painted on the glass. The ground is twill-weave ivory silk, and the stitches are satin, long and short, stem, and couching.
Susan was born October 18, 1801, to John and Susanna Winn in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father was a flour merchant and entered Susan and Elizabeth in the Moravian boarding school, Linden Hall Seminary, in Lititz, Pennsylvania in 1815. Susan married John Reynolds on December 23, 1824.
Mourning designs appear in many 19th-century decorative arts, including needlework. Embroidered landscapes, usually worked by schoolgirls, often show relatives or friends grieving before a monument dedicated to a lost loved one. For more about this embroidery and other schoolgirl needlework, see Girlhood Embroidery, American Samplers & Pictorial Needlework by Betty Ring (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993) and The "Ornamental Branches," Needlework and Arts from the Lititz Moravian Girls' School Between 1800 and 1865 by Patricia T. Herr (Lancaster, PA: The Heritage Center Museum of Lancaster County, 1996).
Currently not on view
Object Name
embroidered picture
date made
ca 1816
associated dates
Winn, Susan
Physical Description
silk (ground material)
wood, gilded (frame material)
glass (mat material)
chenille (threads material)
gold spangles (overall color)
blue-green (overall color)
browns (overall color)
grey-green (overall color)
ivory (overall color)
satin, long and short, stem and couching stitches used (joint piece production method or technique)
gilded wood with rope turning (frame production method or technique)
embroidery (overall production method/technique)
silk (thread material)
average spatial: 25 1/4 in x 25 1/4 in; 64.135 cm x 64.135 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Lititz
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Family & Social Life
Embroidered Pictures
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Embroidered Pictures
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Albert Adsit Clemons
Related Publication
Dillmont, Thérèse de. Assisi Embroideries
Lubar, Steven, and Kathleen M. Kendrick. Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian
Ring, Betty. Girlhood Embroidery, American Samplers & Pictorial Needlework
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

11/14/2012 3:54:56 PM
At first glance, I thought it was a Grecian piece of art work. But as I began reading the information I realized I was wrong. The time, work, and love the artist used in creating the piece is great. The mourning picture is a wonderful way to remember a loved one.
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