Collection of 5 Deerfield Society Needlework Embroidered Doilies
Collection of 5 Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework doilies from Deerfield, MA.
At the sign of the flax wheel, in an old Deerfield home built in 1722, the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework exhibited and sold their embroideries between 1897 and 1924. In the parlor visitors could view a variety of one-of-a-kind embroideries, and gather ideas about how such pieces might be appropriately incorporated into one's carefully decorated home.
The Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework shared a love of carefully executed work using natural materials and subject matter frequently inspired by nature, and a desire to heighten the beauty of the useful objects of everyday life.
The original focus of the society was to preserve 18th century colonial embroidery patterns from the collection of the Deerfield Historical Society. The founding women, Margaret Whiting and Ellen Miller, copied the patterns in order to reproduce them. As textile scholar Sheryl de Jong notes, "the project inspired them to plan their own business enterprise: to create a village industry closely associated with Deerfield's colonial heritage and inspired by the colonial embroideries they'd been drawing. The society embroidered doilies, counterpanes, bed curtains, and dresser scarves. Selling their work at the annual summer exhibition, and at Arts and Crafts exhibitions in New York, Boston, and Chicago."
The indigo-dyed yarn of the earliest colonial embroideries inspired the members to use only shades of blue and white on natural linen. As interest in their work grew, the members expanded to using yarns and fabrics in a wider range of colors. The society did their own dyeing of yarns. Each embroidery features the the motif of a "D" within a flax wheel, the trademark of the society.
Over the door of the entrance to the rooms where Miss Whiting and Miss Miller draw their designs, give out work by the piece and do their beautiful needlework, hangs a spinning-wheel, which is the society's sign and trademark....The whole aspect of the old house in which the Society has its headquarters is a fitting and appropriate frame for these reproductions of colonial designs. The wainscotted [sic] walls, the cavernous fireplaces and the rafters across the ceilings, give just the proper setting for the workers who sit by the windows in little old-fashioned "splint bottomed" chairs, filling in the broad, simple lines of the designs with intricate stitches.
Sheryl de Jong's wonderful article on the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework
stem, roumanian, feather, herringbone, knot, and satin
Embroidered 'D' within a flax wheel
c. 1900 - 1910
2 - 5" dia.
2 - 6.5" dia.
1 - 9" dia.
VERY GOOD condition overall. No stitch loss. Spotting to 6.5" doily, and mild foxing to surrounding edge.