Ann Clay (1759–1846)

New Castle, Delaware, 1766

Worsted wool and silk on linen

Sewell C. Biggs bequest; 2004.498

To educate their daughters, prosperous families in colonial Delaware often followed the European tradition and instructed them in domestic and art-related topics. Instead of studying academic courses, girls learned such things as painting, music, and needlework. This example of childhood embroidery is a “sample” of the types of decorative embroidery techniques that girls learned at home or in schools for girls throughout the Delaware and Philadelphia regions.