Sara Ten Brock's Silk Embroidery

After a young lady learned to embroider a sampler, she might attend a female academy to make a silk embroidered picture. This was a more challenging technique that became popular in the early 1800s. Subjects included classical, biblical, and historical scenes, as well as mourning pictures.
This rectangular embroidered picture contains an oval vignette within the rectangle of a woman feeding two chickens and four chicks. The woman wears a costume of the period, a long dress, with bands at the bottom of her skirt, somewhat in the Empire style. There is only blank fabric where the hands would be, no embroidery or paint. The original non-embroidered ground fabric in the upper half of the picture has been cut away and replaced at a later time with a newer plain weave silk satin fabric. Because the original face was painted on the discarded ground fabric, the face on the newer fabric is embroidered. It is stitched on an ivory silk satin ground fabric and backed with homespun linen. The threads are wool twist and silk twist. The stitches are French knots, encroaching satin, seed, split, satin, and straight.
This may be the Sara Ten Brock born to John I. and Fitze Miller Ten Brock on March 13, 1786, in Oxford, New York. She married Daniel Loomis (1783-1854) on April 15, 1801. They had ten children and Sara died March 23, 1864, in Oxford, New York.
Currently not on view
Object Name
embroidery, picture
Ten Brock, Sara
Physical Description
silk (ground material)
silk (thread material)
overall: 12 1/4 in x 10 in; 31.115 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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 Mrs. Mabel Van Alstyne
Additional Media

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