Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Pocketbook For Benjamin Stuart, 1753

This vibrant crewel pocketbook was made for Benjamin Stuart of Boston and is dated 1753. It is held in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (http://www.masshist.org). The pocketbook features a brightly hued pastoral view with vining flowers, bird, and goats. Several large blossoms catch the eye. The wool thread is worked on linen, and features a dazzling interior, lined with silk. The wool threads have remained vivid, as has the yellow-gold silk lining (the silk is possibly from China.)

While the owner is known, the maker is anonymous. Items such as this were often made by young women for their fathers, beloveds, or for themselves. As noted by MHS Curator, Anne Bentley, the large size of the pocketbook was fashioned to accommodate old tenor currency.