Lady Elizabeth Grey Petitioning King Edward IV

Lady Elizabeth Grey Petitioning King Edward IV

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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 expertly stitched large chenille work picture represents Lady Elizabeth Grey petitioning King Edward IV for the return of her husband’s land, following Edward’s victory over the Lancasterians in 1461, in which Lord Grey died. Lady Elizabeth is in a kneeling position, one knee on the ground, and her left arm around a small boy standing beside her. Her right hand is held by King Edward. On the left are two young men attendants, one holding a staff and dressed in the period of the event (1460s) as is King Edward. On the right are three women attendants dressed, as is Lady Elizabeth, in costumes of the period in which the embroidery was done, 1815. It is assumed the children’s mother is Lady Elizabeth Grey. Edward IV and Lady Elizabeth were later married and their sons were the "princes of the tower." Their daughter Elizabeth married Henry VII, unifying the Yorks and Lancasters and establishing the Tudor line. The ground is pale gold silk satin, and the threads are silk chenille, silk floss, and metal. The stitches are encroaching satin, laid chenille work, satin, and French knots.
The design of this embroidery is based on an engraving made by William Wynn Ryland, after a painting of this event by Angelica Kauffmann.
Elizabeth Cassel was born September 12, 1800, in Marietta, Pennsylvania, to Henry and Catherine Neff Cassel. She died unmarried in 1891. This piece of embroidery was considered very important to the family and Daniel Cassel in his book A Genealogical History of the Cassel Family in American (Norristown, Pennsylvania: Morgan R. Wills, 1896) mentions it along with the family genealogy. It was given to the National Museum of American History by a descendant. For more information about this embroidery see Piecework, March/April 2007, “Three American Schoolgirl Silk Embroideries from the Smithsonian” by Sheryl De Jong.
Currently not on view
Object Name
picture, embroidered
Cassel, Elizabeth T.
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Marietta
Physical Description
silk (overall material)
watercolor (overall material)
chenille (overall material)
ink (overall material)
embroidered (overall production method/technique)
embroidery, water color (overall production method/technique)
average spatial: 33 in x 31 1/2 in; x 83.82 cm x 80.01 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Anne Holloway Torbert
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
Embroidered Pictures
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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