Sunday, 12 March 2017

Peasants in Chicago?

I am not sure what to make of this hanging that is on The Art Institute of Chicago's website (here) as part of their collection: "probably designed by the Haslemere Peasant Industries".  It's described as 'Hanging' (1899/ 1901).  The hanging seems to have been come from the Louise A. Lutz estate (2009).  It is described as "Linen, plain weave; appliquéd with linen, plain weave; embroidered with cotton in stem, buttonhole, and satin stitches.  161.3 x 94.6 cm".

Hanging, 1899/1901
"probably designed by the Haslemere Peasant Industries"
The Art Institute of Chicago

There are numerous elements of this tapestry that seem familiar with the Peasant Arts movement works: the boats, the stylised trees, the flowers, the natural dye colours and the quote.  I am not sure that the design looks quite Haslemere Peasant Arts enough though?  The Scots pine type trees are a design that I have not seen by the movement before.  The sea in the background is also a composition that is unfamiliar.  The wording at the bottom does not sound meaningful enough.  The internet says that this phrase originates from a poem by Henry Lodsworth Longfellow, an American poet.   The size of the appliquéd linen pieces are all very small, and this seems a more intricate work than is typical of the Peasant Arts movement.

'The Deep Sea' Peasant Tapestry Wall-Hanging, designed by Godfrey Blount,
Studio International, vol 29

Embroidered Panel, Godfrey Blount, 1896, V&A MUSEUM
I am not an expert, but I do not think that this is designed by the Haslemere Peasant Industries, but I do think that it has been influenced by them.  What do you think?

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