National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Embroidered Towel Embroidered Towel
Rendered by Frances Lichten (artist),

Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Textiles from the Index of American Design
Object 7 of 17

Women lavished much attention on show towels, embroidered panels hung over the ordinary towels used by the family or otherwise displayed as decorations on doors. Show towels were most frequently made by Pennsylvania German settlers, who brought to America their European traditions. The practice of concealing homely everyday towels behind a decoratively embroidered panel gave evidence of a well-kept home and of the housewife's deftness with the flax wheel and the needle. In this example, a restrained design is composed of schematic urns and flowers worked in cross-stitch. Though the design is extremely refined, a lively decorative effect is created by the bright reds and greens used in the embroidery; the colors stand out boldly against the light natural linen background.

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