Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Painting of the Day: Miss Mary Linwood, Artist in Needlework, 1800

Miss Mary Linwood, Artist in Needlework
John Hoppner, R.A., c. 1800
After about 1800, portraits were painted of people from all ranks of society as opposed to earlier portraits which were only commissioned by wealthy landowners, nobility or Royalty. Artists, politicians, literary figures and scientists soon found themselves the subjects of portraiture.

Here, we see a portrait of Mary Linwood whose copies of old master paintings in crewel wool (named from the crewel or worsted wool that was employed) were celebrated as artistic novelties. Linwood would recreate the original artist’s brush strokes with stitches and achieved great fame with her first London exhibition in 1787. She was so popular, in fact, on one occasion her copy of a painting by the Italian artist Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) was sold for more than the original.

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