Perforated Paper Picture

Cardwork which we know today as perforated paper was a popular pastime during the Victorian era. This interesting piece is a picture of a boy and girl fishing on the bank of a stream. The faces, hands, elbow, and foot are printed cutouts that are glued on to the picture, with the hand, elbow, and foot being slightly padded. The boy’s right hand has been cut to insert a fishing pole. It is worked in Berlin wool, silk, floss, felt, beads, paper, wood, and silk covered wire. The count of the perforated paper is 20 to the inch. It has what appears to be a thin copper sheet backing the non-stitched areas and is framed in passé partout technique with an embossed gold paper trim around the edge of the picture. Brewer’s Dictionary defines passé partout as “a sort of picture-frame _ the middle is cut out to the size of the picture, and the border or edge is embossed, so as to present a raised margin. The passé-partout and picture, being backed and face with a glass, are held together by an edging of paper which shows on the glass face.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
embroidery, picture, perforated paper
overall: 14 in x 15 1/2 in; 35.56 cm x 39.37 cm
made at
United States
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Victorian Needlework
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Victorian Needlework
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Anna Antik

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