Probably London, England
Linen ground, linen, silk, and silver
thread, shells, wooden box with glass
Lent by John H. Bryan
Schoolgirls from prosperous English families were expected to master the art
of sewing. The three-dimensional work mounted inside this box probably marked
the pinnacle of a girls education. This example is dated "1712"
on the vase and is signed "MB" on either side. While the large flowers,
wrapped-wire deer, and other decoration appeared frequently in needlework from
this era, the tiny Chinese porcelain vases in the foreground make this box highly
unusual. Like the exotic shells and natural debris installed inside the box,
the porcelain vases were curious foreign objects worthy of commemoration in
this miniature "cabinet of curiosities."